Orientations: An Anthology of East European Travel Writing, ca. 1550–2000 9789639776098, 9789639776104, 2009033598

Excerpts from over 100 travel writings of Europe, from 16th c. pilgrimage diaries thru early specimens of modern tourism

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Orientations: An Anthology of East European Travel Writing, ca. 1550–2000
 9789639776098, 9789639776104, 2009033598

Table of contents :
Title page
Copyright page
Table of Contents
East European Travel Writing: a Guide to Orientation
I. Europe in all its Variety (16th-18th centuries)
Words for the Traveller
Variations: Pilgrims, Emissaries, Scholars and Adventurers
II. Voyages of Discovery (Late 18th to Mid-19th Century)
On Travel Writing
Discoveries In Europe
Greeks: From the Frankish
Lands to Europe
Two Serbian Travellers in East and West
From Moldaviaand Wallachia
Hungarian Reformers Before 1848
From Poland: Before and After Partition
Domopis: Travels through
the Homeland
Domopis: Slav Travels
Variations: Three Women
III. On the Tourist Track (1850s–1930s)
Tourist and Travel Writer
The European Metropolis: Paris and the Rest
Exoticism and the Self
Domopis: Know Your Country
Why Keep Writing about Travel?
IV. Europe Divided (1945–1989)
The Tasks of Travel Writing
Domopis: Fraternal Travels
Cold War Variations
V. A Single Europe? (Since 1989)
Notes on Further Reading
Copyright Acknowledgements

Citation preview

E d i t e d

b y






An Anthology of East European Travel Writing, ca. 1550–2000

East Looks West


East Looks West Volume 1



An Anthology of East European Travel Writing, ca. 1550 –2000

Edited by Wendy Bracewell

Central European University Press Budapest New York

©2009 by Wendy Bracewell Published in 2009 by Central European University Press An imprint of the Central European University Share Company Nádor utca 11, H-1051 Budapest, Hungary Tel: +36-1-327-3138 or 327-3000 Fax: +36-1-327-3183 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.ceupress.com 400 West 59th Street, New York NY 10019, USA Tel: +1-212-547-6932 Fax: +1-646-557-2416 E-mail: [email protected] All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the permission of the Publisher. ISBN 978-963-9776-09-8 ö (East Looks West) ISBN 978-963-9776-10-4 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Orientations: an anthology of East European travel writing: ca. 1550–2000/edited by Wendy Bracewell. p. cm. — (East looks West ; v. 1) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-9639776104 (hardcover) 1. Travelers’ writings, East European.  2. East Europeans—Travel—Europe—History.  3. Europe—Description and travel. I. Bracewell, Wendy. PN849.E92O75 2009 809’.935914—dc22


Printed in Hungary by Akadémia Nyomda, Martonvásár

Table of Contents

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation ��������������������   xi I. Europe in All its Variety (16th–18th centuries) �������������������������������������   1 Words for the Traveller �����������������������������������������������������������������������   3 Bartolomæus Georgius, A Phrasebook for Captives (1544) ���������������������������   5 Joannes Sambucus, Against Travel (1564) ���������������������������������������������������   6 David Frölich, Instructions for Travel: Ars apodemica (1639) ���������������������   8 Mihály Nadányi, Paternal Advice (1656) �������������������������������������������������   10 Proskynetarion, He who has this book in his home, has a great treasure (1742) �����������������������������������������������������������������   12

Variations: Pilgrims, Emissaries, Scholars and Adventurers �����   13 Nicander Nucius, Journey to the Occident (1546) �������������������������������������   14 Antonius Verantius, A Land so Foreign to Ours (1553) �����������������������������   19 Anonymous Pole, Pilgrimage diary (1595) �������������������������������������������������   23 Simēon of Poland, An Armenian Pilgrimage to Rome (1611) ���������������������   25 Márton Szepsi Csombor, Europe’s Diversity: England (1620) ���������������������   27 Daniel Strejc Vetter, Iceland (1638) �����������������������������������������������������������   33 Osman-Aga of Temesvar, Escape from the Infidels (1724) �������������������������   42 Vasyl’ Hryhorovych-Bars’kyi, A Defence of Pilgrimage (1724) �������������������   48 Marco Antonio Cazzaiti, A Venetian Greek in the Ottoman Balkans, (1742) �   49 Parteniĭ Pavlovich, Sinful Sufferings (1749) ���������������������������������������������   54 Constantin Hurmuzaki, Faking Exile on a Greek Island (1764) �����������������   57 Juwenalis Charkiewicz, A Franciscan’s Journey from Lithuania to Spain (1768) �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   59 Ruggiero Boscovich, An Astronomical Voyage through the Apennines (1770) �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   63 Mauritius Benyowsky, Exile to Siberia (1790) �������������������������������������������   65



II. Voyages of Discovery (Late 18th to Mid-19th Century) �������������������   69 On Travel Writing �������������������������������������������������������������������������������   72 Leopold Berchtold, The Inquiries of Patriotic Travellers (1789) �����������������   73 Milota Zdirad Polák, Reasons for Travel Writing (1821) ���������������������������   76 Krystyn Lach Szyrma, Miraculous and Absurd Accounts of the Sclavonians (1823) �����������������������������������������������������������������������������   77 Polyxena Wesselényi, Writing as a Woman (1842) �������������������������������������   79 Lőrinc Tóth, Up off your cushions! (1844) �����������������������������������������������   80 Dragutin Galac, On (Domestic) Travel (1846) �����������������������������������������   82

Discoveries in Europe �������������������������������������������������������������������������   84 Greeks: from the Frankish Lands to Europe ���������������������������������������   85 Ioannis Pringos, Amsterdam Chronicle (1760s-70s) �����������������������������������   85 Stamatis Petrou, Letters from Amsterdam (1770s) �����������������������������������   88 Adamantios Korais, Letter from Paris to Smyrna (1788) ���������������������������   90

Two Serbian Travellers in East and West �������������������������������������������   92 Dositej Obradović, Educational Pilgrimages (1788) �����������������������������������   92 Gerasim Zelić, A Representative of Orthodox Dalmatia (1823) �����������������   97

From Moldavia and Wallachia ������������������������������������������������������������  100 Dinicu Golescu, Learning from Enlightened Europe (1826) ����������������������  101 Nicolas Soutzo, Geography or Class? (1820s) ������������������������������������������  107

Hungarian Reformers before 1848 ������������������������������������������������������  109 István Széchenyi, Three Things to be Learned in England (1815) ������������  109 Sándor Bölöni Farkas, Questions about Hungary (1830–31) ��������������������  113 Bertalan Szemere, ‘Images of Hungary and the Hungarians’ (1840) ���������  116

From Poland: Before and After Partition ����������������������������������������  118 Stanisław August Poniatowski, English Education (1775) ��������������������������  119 August Moszyński, The Further We Go, the Worse Things Get (1784–85) �   123 Zygmunt Krasiński, London and Messina (1839) �����������������������������������   126 Łucja Rautenstrachowa, Industrial civilization (1841) �����������������������������   127

Domopis: Travels through the Homeland �����������������������������������   129 Alecu Russo, ‘Fragment from a Journey in Upper Moldavia in 1839’ (1839) ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   130 Ivan Trnski, Our Travellers vs. Foreign Ones (1839) �����������������������������   131

Table of Contents


Ljubomir Nenadović, Travelling at Home, German-style (1845) �������������   133 Janko Buor, A Nationalist Pilgrimage (1846) �����������������������������������������   135 Emanuel Arnold, On the Run in Bohemia (1849) �����������������������������������   137 Gheorghe Sion, Frontier Ambivalence (1857) �����������������������������������������   143

Domopis: Slav Travels ���������������������������������������������������������������������   145 Jan Potocki, Travels in Search of Slavic Antiquities (1795) ���������������������   146 Ján Kollár, Daughters of Slava (1843) ���������������������������������������������������   148 Antun Nemčić, Travel Trifles (1845) �������������������������������������������������������   151 Václav Stanĕk, Railways and Slavs (1846) ����������������������������������������������   155 Anton Aškerc, Equal to the Russians (1903) �������������������������������������������   157 Karel Drož, The Idea and Practice of a Slavonic Travelogue (1907) �������   158 Franjo Ksaverski Horvat-Kiš, Sokol Excursion (1911) �����������������������������   161 Václav Karel Krofta, The sea! The sea! (1923) ���������������������������������������   163

Variations: Three Women ���������������������������������������������������������������   165 Dragojla Jarnević, My Sphere of Activity is too Narrow… (1839–1840) ���   166 Polyxena Wesselényi, Travels in Italy and Switzerland (1842) �������������������   170 Dora D’Istria, The Women of Greece (1863) �����������������������������������������   174

III. On the Tourist Track (1850s–1930s) �����������������������������������������   179 Tourist and Travel Writer �������������������������������������������������������������   182 Albert Pákh, The Hungarian Tourist (1855) �������������������������������������������   183 Miltiades Vratsanos, The Greek Tourist (1861) ���������������������������������������   184 Nicolae Filimon, Real Magyars: The Complacent Tourist (1863) �����������   185 Ion Codru Drăguşanu, The Transylvanian Pilgrim: The Patriotic Tourist (1865) ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������   188 Nicolae Iorga, Recollections from Italy: The Anti-Tourist (1890) �����������   193 I. L. Caragiale, Letter from Berlin: The Ironic Tourist (1905) ���������������   196

The European Metropolis: Paris and the Rest ���������������������������   200 Aleko Konstantinov, American Cities and London (1894) �����������������������   201 Endre Ady, Letter to Paris (1904) �����������������������������������������������������������   204 Josip Lavtižar, If you’ve seen one big city… (1906) �������������������������������   206 Kallirhoe Parren, Paris for Women (1909) �����������������������������������������������   207 Mihail Sebastian, ‘Letters from Paris: Rue de Lappe’ (1930) �����������������   209



Kostas Ouranis, What a European City Used to Be (1939) ���������������������   213 Prežihov Voranc, No other European City is as Dirty (1939) �������������������   215 Jovan Dučić, Back Home in Belgrade, After Paris (1940) �����������������������   215

Exoticism and the Self �������������������������������������������������������������������   218 Mihail Kogăliceanu, Comparative Orientalisms: Spain and Romania (1846) ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   219 Ljubomir Nenadović, Letters from Italy (1869) ���������������������������������������   220 Konstantin Jireček, A Czech Slavist in Serbia (1875) �������������������������������   224 Iaroslav Okunevs’kyi, Outlandish Uniforms (1898) ���������������������������������   227 Nicolae Mihăescu-Nigrim, Sketches from Brussels (1906) �����������������������   228 Dezső Kosztolányi, Austrian—or Worse (1913) ���������������������������������������   231 Camil Petrescu, Stamboul for Romanians (1931) �������������������������������������   233 Slavko Batušić, ‘The Barbarian Assault on Paris’ (1932) �������������������������   234

Domopis: Know your Country �������������������������������������������������������   237 Liuben Karavelov, Plovdiv (1868) �����������������������������������������������������������   237 Fülöp Jákó Imets, Expedition to Investigate Exotic Fellow Hungarians (1870) ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   239 Bolesław Prus, No Place Like Home (1875–78) ���������������������������������������   242 DimitriosVikelas, Come to Greece (1885) �����������������������������������������������   248 Richard Hofmeister, The Delights of Home (1925) ���������������������������������   250 Lajos Nagy, Darkest Hungary (1932) �����������������������������������������������������   251 Nikos Kazantzakis, ‘Journey to the Morea’ (1937) ���������������������������������   254

Why Keep Writing about Travel? �������������������������������������������������   256 Josef Svatopluk Machar, Across the Hatefully Clichéd Alps; Why Write about Venice? (1907) �������������������������������������������������������   257 Antun Gustav Matoš, ‘Holidays, 1908’ (1908) ���������������������������������������   260 Dezső Kosztolányi, ‘Bittersweet Introduction’ (1927) �����������������������������   261 M.M Pešić, ‘Our Newest Travel Writers’ (1930) �������������������������������������   263 Mircea Eliade, ‘What We Learn Travelling’ (1933) ���������������������������������   265

Variations �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   268 Octavian Goga, Travel Notes: Spain, Milan and Paris (1913) �����������������   268 Mid’hat Frashëri, Albania and Switzerland (1914) ���������������������������������   271 Miroslav Krleža, An Excursion to Russia (1926) �������������������������������������   273 Isidora Sekulić, Letters from Norway (1914, 1951) ���������������������������������   280

Table of Contents


IV. Europe Divided (1945–1989) �����������������������������������������������������   287 The Tasks of Travel Writing �������������������������������������������������������   291 Fadil Hadžić, Travel Writing, Then and Now (1962) �����������������������������   292 Teodor Mazilu, ‘To Be or Not to Be a Tourist’ (1973) �����������������������������   294 Ivan Kušan, The View from a Periphery (1986) �������������������������������������   296

Domopis: Fraternal Travels �����������������������������������������������������������   299 Stanisław Czernik, A Pole in Bulgaria (1961) �����������������������������������������   299 Aleksandar Tišma, ‘Meridians of Central Europe’ (1963) �����������������������   302 Vasil Tsonev, Through Europe (1973) ���������������������������������������������������   309 Antonín Jakeš, Cossacks and Collective Farms (1980) ���������������������������   314 Miloslav Nevrlý, Carpathian Games (1981; 2006) �����������������������������������   322

Cold War Variations �����������������������������������������������������������������������   326 Jerzy Stempowski, Waiting for a Visa (1947) �������������������������������������������   326 Gyula Illyés, Variations à la France (1947) ���������������������������������������������   330 Mimiki Kranaki, Exile Journal (1950) ���������������������������������������������������   331 Demetres Psathas, ‘The Expatriate Caryatid’ (1951) �������������������������������   334 Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna, ‘My Holiday in England’ (1957) �������������������   338 Zbigniew Herbert, The Barbarian in the Garden (1962) ���������������������������   341 Josef Hotmar, Vesuvius and Naples: Disillusion (1976) ���������������������������   344 Milica Mićić Dimovska, ‘Austro-Hungarian Travel Brochure’ (1987) �����   347

V. A Single Europe? (Since 1989) �����������������������������������������������������   355 Bohumil Hrabal, ‘A Pity We Didn’t Burn to Death Instead’ (1990) ���������   358 Demetres Nollas, ‘Travemünde, Baltic Sea’ (1998) ���������������������������������   364 Vesna Biga, Bus People (1999) ���������������������������������������������������������������   366 Ştefan Borbély, The East European Scholar (2001) ���������������������������������   369 Andrzej Stasiuk, Travelling to Babadag (2004) ���������������������������������������   370

Notes on Further Reading �����������������������������������������������������������������   377 Copyright Acknowledgements �����������������������������������������������������������   383 Index ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   387

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation

‘…the planispheres, world-maps and other maps produced in medieval workshops from the ninth to the twelfth centuries usually put the East at the top. Sacred history here determined geographical conceptions: the earthly paradise was situated at the beginning of the human enterprise and at the top of graphic representations. […] From the sixteenth century on, the vast majority of world-maps have the North at the top and no longer suggest that the earthly paradise might still exist somewhere on our earth, somewhere to the East.’ From Jean Delumeau, History of Paradise: The Garden of Eden in Myth and Tradition, trans. Matthew O’Connell (2008)

The starting point for this anthology is a simple question: what does Europe look like when viewed from its eastern half? The answers are predictably diverse. In these pages you can find impressions of Paris as seen by a Hungarian poet and by the founder of a Greek newspaper for women; descriptions of England by a monk who fled his monastery and by a King of Poland. Travellers tell us about their adventures on the road: a member of the Bohemian Brethren survives a storm, and is disgusted by the food they give him to eat in Iceland; a Muslim from the Banat, taken captive in the Ottoman wars, recounts the way he outwitted a Habsburg General during his escape from Vienna; a Wallachian boyar, amazed by the workings of a steamship, describes the contraption in detail; a Polish journalist takes a train from Warsaw to Krakow, crossing an international frontier in the process; a woman joins a group of part-time smugglers on a bus trip to Vienna and Bratislava. The travellers note things both strange and familiar: a seven-



teenth-century Transylvanian is astonished to discover that Londoners don’t speak Latin, while three hundred years later a Slovene claims to feel at home wherever Russian is spoken; Switzerland reminds an Albanian statesman of his native mountains, while a Czech historian finds Serbia excitingly un-European. Not only do these travellers relate what they have seen and done in Europe, but they use those sights and experiences to think about themselves and their own societies, and about the nature of their relationship with the wider world. They look for indications of the way their countries are viewed abroad: a Croat flirts with a Venetian, until she calls him a barbarian; a Hungarian novelist in France is enraged to be labelled an Austrian (but perhaps this is preferable to being a savage Magyar?); an academic in Oxford finds himself pigeonholed as an ‘EES’, one of a series of interchangeable ‘East European Scholars’. The travellers measure themselves against those they encounter, according to a variety of standards that shift over time: those of piety or godlessness; superstition or knowledge; cultivation or barbarism; progress or backwardness. The travellers orient themselves, and others, according to a symbolic map of Europe, its limits and divisions defined according to moral, material, civilizational or ideological criteria. And they tell us how they feel in discovering their own location on the map: ashamed, indifferent, exasperated, amused or superior. In the end, this anthology tells us not just what Europe has looked like from the eastern half of the continent, but also what being European has meant to some of its inhabitants. The choice of ‘eastern Europe’ as a frame of reference requires a word of explanation. The term is used here in a provisional manner and indeed a rather arbitrary one, with the lower-case form intended to underline this. The travellers set out from places that stretch from Kiev to Rijeka, and from Gdańsk to Crete. The eastern Europe that they represent includes the lands that lie between the Baltic in the north and the Mediterranean in the south; between Russia in the east and Italy, Austria and Germany in the west. These boundaries were set in part by the limits of the possible: had resources permitted, accounts by travellers from the Baltic countries or by Austrian Germans, among others, might equally well have been included here. My aim has been to assemble a representative selection of travel writings from this region: the anthology includes accounts from some twenty languages, by more than one hundred authors, written over a period of more than

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation


450 years, beginning in the sixteenth century and finishing with a book published in 2004. The writers travel to Ireland in the west, to Istanbul in the east—and any number of places in between. But why group these particular east European travels through Europe together, in a single volume? The answer lies partly in eastern Europe’s relationship to the idea of Europe itself. The concept of a Europe that is something more than a geographical designation was created and consolidated in opposition to a series of ‘others’—not just those who lay beyond its borders, but also internal others, above all the lands and societies of its eastern margins. By this account, Europe was ultimately equivalent to ‘the West’. This was seen as the home of the characteristics claimed as Europe’s fundamental features, whether these were understood to be western Christianity, the Enlightenment, liberal democracy, progress or simply modernity. Conversely, the east of Europe, where many of the changes associated with modernity arrived more slowly, if at all, gradually came to be thought of as a separate and distinctive region—as an upper-case ‘Eastern Europe’—whose Europeanness could not always be taken for granted. Precisely where this East began has been a matter for dispute, its boundaries shifting with the perspective of the observer rather than defined according to such objective criteria as political units, economic patterns or cultural frontiers. Placing travel accounts of Europe from across this region side by side is above all a strategic move, allowing the reader to compare a great variety of perspectives on the divisions of Europe (and the location of home) from different places and at different times. Many such accounts, from the late eighteenth century on, reveal the sort of contested relationship with Europe and the West that might be expected. The character of the response, however, can be very different—contrast two views, both from the 1830s: a young Hungarian, Sándor Bölöni Farkas, asking bitterly why his nation is so backward compared to every other ‘civilized nation of Europe’, and Zygmunt Krasiński, the Polish Romantic poet, proclaiming: ‘who in old Europe is still young? We, and only we!’ Whether an ambiguous relationship with Europe can be seen as the main defining feature of east European travel writing, let alone of ‘Eastern Europe’, is a different matter. Other writers represented here do not register it at all. Nor is it obvious that this can be taken as differentiating east Europeans from all others: many travellers from outside Europe’s Franco-German core also show divided reactions in their encounters with European difference. However, taken



together, these travellers’ accounts complicate the image of a Europe divided neatly into East and West: neither half of the continent has ever been so monolithic and coherent as this formula implies. They also challenge a picture frequently implied in colonial and postcolonial studies, that of an undifferentiated ‘Europe’ set in opposition to ‘the rest of the world’. But the travel writings assembled here also do more. Recent scholarship has depicted the development of Eurocentrism as initiated by western intellectuals, elevating the very particular characteristics of their own societies as the measure of modernity or even as universal values, in opposition to the particularities they observed in (or attributed to) the rest of the world. British, French and German travel writing, in particular, has been much studied as a technique for creating and consolidating such self-confirming (and self-congratulatory) notions of difference. By this reckoning, ‘Eastern Europe’ is the toxic by-product of a drive to power by Western political and social elites. However, the east European perspectives assembled here suggest that Europe and its symbolic divisions have a much more complex genealogy. While the processes that produced Europe’s imaginative geographies were certainly lop-sided—materially shaped by north-west European power— they have never been solely one-sided. Others, too, have helped fix the meanings of the map of Europe, driven by their own purposes, desires and anxieties. In eastern Europe, the travel account has been one of the main instruments by which elites, but also others, have imagined their place in Europe and the world. Their narratives have not just recorded their experiences abroad. Their accounts have divided their world into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and have infused meaning into a whole vocabulary of belonging and exclusion, including such ostensibly geographical terms as Orient and Occident, the West, the Balkans, Central or Eastern Europe and, above all, Europe itself. What’s more, the writers have used their tales of travel for many different purposes: to identify Others, define relations with neighbors, regulate domestic social relations, or mobilize support for a variety of political agendas. These travel writers have served as active agents in the invention of Europe, not just for themselves but also for their readers, at home but also abroad. Their narratives construct a Europe that can be both Self and Other; a threat to national authenticity, or a means of escaping from the confines of the nation; a secure vantage point, a framework for competition, a distant goal, or simply Elsewhere.

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation


‘Travel writing’ is a fluid genre, its boundaries shifting over time and its characteristics varying according to specific historical or literary contexts. This anthology has adopted a minimalist definition: a firstperson narrative, proposed and received as non-fiction, describing the narrator’s travels and the places visited. In practice, the selection here has also leaned towards texts conventionally received as ‘literary’. This sort of writing holds a substantial place in many east European literatures, though it is often passed over in literary histories. In the early modern era, a whole variety of activities and institutions prompted the writing of travel narratives: diplomats reported back to their sovereigns from embassies abroad, pilgrims mapped spiritual journeys through sacred sites, wandering students described their peregrinations for their parents or patrons, and humanist scholars demonstrated their erudition with learned topographies. With the introduction of printing and the spread of literacy, the genre gained a broad popular appeal, at least judging by the number of titles published, their print runs and their subsequent citation. The authors of eastern Europe’s travel accounts include some notable writers: authors such as Jan Potocki, Karel Čapek, Nikos Kazantzakis or Zbigniew Herbert are well known to an international audience. However, the genre is a democratic one: all that’s needed is to have gone somewhere and to be able to write. Many travellers have taken advantage of travel writing’s relative lack of formal demands to tell their own stories of travel and of encounters with places and cultures that are not (or not entirely) their own. East European travel writing merits serious study for its history, functions and consequences, as well as for the ways it compares with other accounts of travel, from beyond Europe as well as from within its borders. This anthology helps to make such study possible by rendering a selection of texts accessible to readers of English. But it also has another aim, one that accords with a venerable travel writing tradition—to delight and entertain. These accounts offer all the standard attractions of travel writing: the vicarious experience of new places and people; the jolt of surprise or recognition in the encounter; the sense of intimacy, however illusory, with a traveller-narrator. But these texts also contain the possibility of less conventional pleasures: looking at Europe from an unfamiliar perspective, even perhaps—depending, of course, on who you are—seeing how ‘they’ have seen ‘us’. ✾  ✾  ✾



The organization of the chapters is broadly chronological, its turning points placed according to shifts in the symbolic map of Europe. It begins with the sixteenth century, by which time Europe’s travellers and mapmakers no longer oriented themselves with reference to an eastern paradise but by compasses aligned to the magnetic north—a shift that coincided with the shift of the centre of European economic and political power from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic north-west. Early modern travellers mapped Europe according to a wide range of criteria. It is only in the late eighteenth century that the terms West and East begin to be used consistently with reference to notions of progress and backwardness within Europe and that the term ‘Eastern Europe’ is first used for a distinct region. At least initially, east European travellers comparing their own societies with those of the developed West interpreted differences in temporal terms, more than anything else: differences of degree rather than kind, brought about by arriving at modernity early or late. The expressions of shame voiced by writers such as the Wallachian boyar Dinicu Golescu suggest the ways such comparisons might be harnessed to projects of popular reform presented as ‘catching up to Europe’. A sense of innate divisions hardened from the mid-nineteenth century, underpinned by persistent European economic and political asymmetries and supported by wider European intellectual trends, including racial thinking, ethno-nationalism and Social Darwinism. Many of the travel accounts collected here confirm (even reinforce) these increasingly fixed divisions even while chafing against them. Much of the tourist travel writing that proliferated in this period takes the form of the pursuit and identification of difference, often defined in stereotyped national terms: the Englishman is like this, the Pole is like that, the Greek is another thing altogether… But travel writing also provided the means to compensate for feelings of ressentiment or stigma, for example in stage-managed episodes in which the traveller demonstrates his or her own cultural superiority in the face of foreign ignorance or presumption. It was not always the travel writer who paid the toll at Europe’s symbolic borders: accounts of frontier-crossings also document a whole series of internal, infinitely graduated east ­European Orientalisms. The ‘East European’ is nearly always someone else in these texts. From the perspective of travel writing, it is not the First World War that marks the next significant turning point, in spite of the crisis it caused for the idea of European civilization, but ­rather the Second World War. The establishment of

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation


communist regimes across most of the region confirmed the partition of the continent into two halves but reversed the value signs attributed to East and West, at least officially. In spite of Cold War polarization, travel accounts of the period also trace divisions and hierarchies that don’t necessarily map onto differences in political ideology. A ‘return to ­Europe’ was the slogan that marked the upheavals of 1989: subsequent travel accounts show the contours, and some of the limits, of this new Europe. Within each chronological chapter, extracts are assembled according to itinerary or theme. Though east Europeans recorded travels far beyond the confines of Europe and in the process also elaborated their definitions of Europeanness, the itineraries collected here are limited to travels within the continent, not just from East to West but to all the points of the European compass. I have tried to give a representative sample of itineraries that are typical of specific periods, from the ‘Turkish travels’ of the early modern era or the Italian journey of Romanticism to the avant-garde pilgrimage to revolutionary Russia from the 1920s and the Cold War anti-pilgrimage to the ‘rotten West’. Travels abroad are balanced by sections on travels ‘at home’—or, to suggest a neologism on the model of Slavonic terms for travel writing, ‘domopis’. These collate accounts of travel within a community, whether that is defined in national terms, supra-nationally (as in the case of travels within the Slav world), or transnationally and ideologically (as in the case of fraternal-socialist travels). ‘Variations’ group together extracts with a range of contents and perspectives, generally at some greater length. Several sections highlight characteristic themes—the discovery of European difference; tourism and the traveller; the big city; exoticism and the self—but the reader will discover other recurring tropes and images (the figure of the barbarian is one that is worth highlighting here, as is the traveller’s frequent awareness of being a spectacle, as well as a spectator). As well as travel accounts strictly speaking, each chapter contains a selection of comments, more or less explicit, on the practice and purposes of travel writing itself. The criteria for selection were set as generously as possible, within the over-arching frame of the east European view of Europe, but difficult choices have inevitably arisen. While the anthology includes selections from most of the languages that east Europeans have used for their travel accounts, it has deliberately excluded accounts originally written in German, a language that many travellers originating from the



region have used to communicate their experiences for both domestic and foreign consumption. This was done in the interests of a broader selection of less familiar texts, and in the knowledge that German-language travel writing is better documented than are many of the others. The selection of texts represents the social origin of east European travel writers fairly accurately, in that the great preponderance of such writing was produced by elite, educated, male professionals and intellectuals, but others have also found their way in (in one case, through a long soliloquy on the horrors of Provence by a Polish manservant, quoted by his master). I have also included a number of accounts by women (even more frequently from the social and intellectual elites), though at least initially women did not find the genre as congenial as other forms of writing. While the selection contains one or two littleknown gems, a few well-known works have been passed over or scanted. Knowledgeable readers will be surprised to find some authors such as Karel Čapek or Czesław Miłosz absent: this is because their travel accounts are readily available in English. In other cases where there are existing translations, but they are less well known, or particularly apposite, or just too good to miss out, a brief extract serves to draw attention to the existence of the work. Most of the material is presented in English for the first time or, in a few cases, rescued from dusty oblivion in long out-of-print volumes. Intrinsic interest, documentary value and literary quality have been the main criteria for inclusion; I have made little or no effort to ensure any sort of proportional representation among the various national literatures. A desire to demonstrate the richness of the material has won out over respect for the integrity of the individual text. Most are presented as extracts, with editorial elisions indicated by ellipses in square brackets. A certain number, however, are given as longer extracts, or as complete units or chapters from larger texts, in order to give a better sense of the shape of individual works. I hope that the curious reader will be encouraged to look further by the bibliographic references. If the idiosyncrasies of my selection prompt additional translations, it will be all to the good. A note on the editing of the texts. Each chapter and thematic section is introduced by a short contextual essay. Within each section, the extracts are ordered chronologically. Where the date given is that of publication, it is enclosed in parentheses; where it is the date of travel (or of composition), it is without. Where the original book titles have been given, they are in italics; where they are chapter or article titles,

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation


they are in quotation marks. Glosses for unfamiliar terms are given at the end of each text; footnotes to the extracts are the authors’ own. Translators have paid careful attention to the vocabulary of difference: terms such as ‘Frankish’ for west European, for instance, have been rendered literally and glossed if necessary. Some contextual information and biographical detail about the author is given in the brief note at the head; bibliographical information and suggestions for further reading, primarily in English, are given in the notes following each text. Unless otherwise noted, I wrote the introductory notes and glosses. The Czech/Slovak and Greek extracts represent one notable exception: David Chirico and Maria Kostaridou, respectively, are credited as the authors in the notes to these selections. This anthology is the first volume of three published by the CEU Press under the common series title of East Looks West. The second volume, Under Eastern Eyes: A Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing, ed. W. Bracewell and A. Drace-Francis (2008) is a collection of studies of the history, politics and literary form of east European travel writing and serves, in effect, as an extended introduction to this volume (alternatively the texts collected here can be treated as an extended appendix to those studies). The third volume, A Bibliography of East European Travel Writing in Europe, ed. W. Bracewell and A. Drace-Francis (2008), collates the travel writing about Europe published in book form in the languages of eastern Europe from approximately 1550 to 2000—it is the place to turn for further titles, including translations into English and other languages, and for bibliographies of secondary material on the national-literary traditions of the travel writing included in this anthology. While that volume stands as a vastly extended bibliography to this work, I have also supplied a brief bibliographical essay at the end of this volume, putting the approach to these texts into a comparative context. ✾  ✾  ✾

This anthology results from a larger research project, ‘East Looks West: East European Travel Writing, 1550–2000’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Modern Languages Research Association, the British Academy and the British Council. The project—along with the general character of the anthology—was originally conceived by myself (as director), David Chirico, Alex Drace-Francis and Karin Friedrich. The initial survey of possible texts for inclusion



was guided by a set of criteria roughly corresponding to the topics treated in this introduction. The success of this operation was due to the knowledge and enthusiasm of a large team of researchers, translators and voluntary collaborators, who provided far more material than could be included. They included: for Albanian, Enkelena Qafleshi and, above all, Rigels Halili (also for help with the Polish material); for Bulgarian, Dessislava Dragneva, Ludmilla Kostova and Boyko Penchev; for Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and/or Serbo-Croatian, Wendy Bracewell; for Czech and Slovak, David Chirico; for Greek, Maria Kostaridou, Annita Panaretou and Ivana Bajić; for Hungarian, Zsu­ zsanna Varga; for Romanian (and for much else besides), Alex DraceFrancis; for Polish, Karin Friedrich and Kate Wilson; for Slovene, Barbara Vodopivec and Kaja Ciglic; for Ukrainian, Vladislava Reznik. Many others also offered suggestions, practical assistance (especially in locating copyright holders), extracts or translations and argued for the inclusion of this or that author—I owe additional thanks to Tim Beasley-Murray, Zrinka Blažević, Snezhana Dimitrova, Dean Duda, Diana Georgescu, Vladimir Gvozden, Radan Haluzík, Angela Jianu, Gwen Jones, Gábor Kármán, Mikhail Kizilov, Zora Kostadinova, Vanja Matković, Tomek Mickiewicz, Zoran Milutinović, Diana Mishkova, Kasia Murawska-Muthesius, Raluca Muşat, Ursula Phillips, Robert Pynsent, Milan Ristović, Kirstin Seaver (on Iceland), Peter Sherwood, Roland Shoemaker (for the website of work-in-progress), David Short, Levente Szabó, Galia Valtchinova and Peter Zusi for their help, as well as apologies for not being able to use all their ideas. Still other material presented itself in the course of my own research and teaching—and I am especially indebted to several generations of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) for their suggestions and responses to the anthology selections. A legion of colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances helped with innumerable queries about translation, terminology or context, and pleas for citations or copies of texts. Everyone I know has suffered from my incessant requests (particularly the ever-helpful librarians at SSEES and the British Library), but I owe the greatest debt in this respect to Alex Drace-Francis, who has been not only unfailingly resourceful but also patient. (He, in turn, wishes to thank Ligia Caranfil for checking all his translations; Prof. Peter Mackridge, for Greek terminology; and Prof. Roger Wright, for Spanish.) This anthology is intended for a general readership, but I could not help mentally

East European Travel Writing: A Guide to Orientation


addressing it to two particular people, David Chirico and Alex DraceFrancis. David read all the first drafts, usually late at night, stretched out on a sofa, snorts of laughter interrupting a frown of concentration: his comments helped make this better, as well as teaching me a lot, especially about close reading. Alex read a final draft and was merciless in identifying error, but tactful in pointing it out. I owe each of them much more than these acknowledgements can show. Any infelicities or errors that remain are the fruit of my own stubbornness and/or ignorance. The variation in texts included and topics covered inevitably reflects the interests and expertise of my advisors, the limits of my own reading, and the materials available on the subject. As an editor, I have often felt like a tourist dependent on literary-historical guidebooks (usually written for some other sort of explorer) on the one hand, and the enthusiasm of many knowledgeable cicerones on the other. I hope that the resulting anthology falls somewhere between a guide to the subject and a more personal and subjective record of a tour through several centuries of travel writing.

Wendy Bracewell London & Sheffield, 2009

I Europe in All its Variety 16 th–18 th centuries

Previous page: An album amicorum belonging to a student of theology, Ferenc Baba (or Bala) of Maros Vásárhely (now Târgu Mureş, Romania), used to collect the autographs of those he met on his academic peregrinations through Transylvania, Germany and England between 1717 and 1730. The sample inscription is by Ferenc Pápai Páriz Jr. The following day, 21 August 1720, Baba signed Pápai Páriz’s album (see the scholarly edition of this document at http://ppf.mtak.hu/ index.htm). [By permission of the British Library.]

Accounts of travel experience had varying degrees of salience in early modern east European literary traditions. In central Europe, churches, courts and urban cultures all prompted the production of travel accounts of different sorts—and by the sixteenth century there was a growing public market for such writing, fed and further stimulated by the spread of print. There were fewer institutions soliciting travel accounts further to the east, however, and more limited audiences, particularly in the earlier years of this period. Here writing was primarily the domain of Orthodox clerics and Ottoman administrators, and written accounts of travel reflected these contexts. New models for conveying travel experience (and new audiences for travel writing) emerged both in the Orthodox world and in Catholic and Protestant Europe by the eighteenth century, but according to slightly different rhythms. The extracts here reflect these patterns as well as conveying something of the changes.

Words for the Traveller

Early modern travellers from eastern Europe took to the road in a whole variety of roles, but those who recorded their travel experiences—whether pilgrims, diplomats, soldiers, scholars or young noblemen sent on tour—were almost invariably educated men, accustomed to the pen. Even before they set out on the road, their journeys were framed by the written word. Travel documents, itineraries and guidebooks prepared the way. Written instructions for the traveller included the formal commissions issued to official emissaries, specifying routes, laying down instructions for the conduct of business and offering cautionary advice. The pilgrim could find appropriate prayers for the road and for holy places, as well as models of behavior in the hagiographies of travelling saints. Paternal letters to the young nobleman on an educative tour included advice on what to see and why, as well as exhortations to behave appropriately. And from the sixteenth century a whole body of literature, the humanist ars apodemica, provided detailed instructions on how to travel and what to observe. Only occasionally, however, was there advice on recording the journey itself in writing. Guidelines for the diplomatic relation, the ecclesiastical visitation or the missionary report generally focused more on the outcomes of a journey than on the experience of travel. Even apodemic advice on writing had more to do with ordering travel knowledge than with recording what happened on the road. Instructions to youths on academic peregrinations were perhaps the most explicit in this regard, recommending a diary or commonplace book as an educational device: a daily register of travel experience to keep tabs on expenses incurred and routes taken, to master the knowledge acquired on a tour and to provide a record for the future. The following selection of extracts gives examples of advice, instruction and exhortations written for early modern travellers, writers and readers of travel texts from eastern Europe, suggesting something of the cultures of travel—and of writing about travel—in different times and contexts.

I. Europe in All its Variety


A Phrasebook for Captives Bartolomæus Georgius, 1544 Born near the beginning of the sixteenth century in a village near Zagreb, Bartolomæus Georgius or Georgievits (Bartol Đurđević) was taken prisoner after the battle of Mohács in 1526 and spent twelve years in Ottoman captivity, changing his owner seven times until he escaped and made his way to Spain with a group of pilgrims returning from Jerusalem. His knowledge of Ottoman customs and his vivid pictures of the misfortunes suffered by Christian captives and tributaries under Ottoman rule made his book instantly popular, with many contemporary translations. His text reads in places like a guide for those unfortunate enough to follow in his footsteps, as in this exemplary dialogue in ‘the Slavonic tongue’ (that is, his native Croatian).

A Saluting Dialogue in the Slavonic tongue Pomozi Bogh gospodaru. God help you, my patron. The Answer Dobro dossao priiateliu. In good time you come, my friend. The Question Ieli ouay praui putt u Kalipolie? Is this the right way to Gallipolis? The Answer Ni brate zabludiossi daleko. No brother, you have erred greatly. The Question Od koiessi zemlie kazuimi. From what countrie come you? Tell me.

The Answer Od Vlaske zemliessam od Benetak. From the Italian land I am, from Venice. The Question Ukasi me puth praui takoti boga. Show me the right way, for God’s sake. The Answer Hodi ssamnom neboisse nistar. Come with me, nor fear any thing. The Question Ieda koie glasse imas kazuimi. If any news you have, declare it unto me.



The Answer Ne takomi vire da znam prouidalbih ti. No, by my faith, if I knew any I would tell it you. The Farewell, and giving of thanks. Ostai zbogom brate onie grad kamo gres.

Go with God, brother, that is the city whither you go. Poi Zbogom, i bogh te zdrauo nossio. Depart in God’s name, and God thee in safety keep. Hualu ti imam i dobrati nots bila. Thanks unto you I give, and a happy night have you.

Bartholomæus Georgievits, De afflictione tam captivorum quam etiam sub Turcae tributo viventium (Antwerp, 1544), translated with reference to the rendition in The Offspring of the house of Ottomanno and officiers pertaining to the great Turkes Court, whereunto is added Batholomeus Georgieviz Epitome of the customes, Rytes, Ceremonies, and Religion of the Turkes: with the miserable affliction of those Christians, which live under their captivitie and bondage. […] (London, 1569), trans. Wendy Bracewell.


Against Travel Joannes Sambucus, 1564 Conventional celebrations of the utility of travel were accompanied by equally conventional critiques. János Zsámboki, or to give him the Latin name he adopted as a humanist scholar, Joannes Sambucus, was born in Nagyszombat (Trnava, now in Slovakia) in 1531. He is best known as the author of an influential book of allegorical emblems, first published in Antwerp in 1564. Although the work was produced after twenty years of academic peregrination through the cultural centres of Europe, Sambucus’s emblems repeatedly question the value of travel: the verses expanding on the motto ‘Caelum, non animum mutant’ elevate love of one’s native patria above a foreign education, and domestic nature above exotic nurture (represented by an image of a captive tiger and lion fighting savagely, while travellers pass along a road behind them). However, his verses on the loyalty of his canine companions suggest a happier view of travel, even while acknowledging the call of home (the image shows

I. Europe in All its Variety


Sambucus on his horse, his dogs frisking at his feet, while in the background, the three travellers are setting out to sea).

Caelum, non animum mutant They change their skies, but not their souls

Neither road nor sky, but nature herself commands us to form kindly habits, for it is she who rules us. Many whom the order of nature made gentle are corrupted and defiled in foreign places. If the jungle forbids its tigers, and the forest its lions, a greater savagery comes afterwards than there was before. It is an object of pride to have seen so many peoples, customs and cities, but whose love is greater than the homeland’s care? Who teaches you more than the one who educated you in your first years, as the sweet burden of troublesome old age? Caelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt] ‘those who race across the sea change their skies, but not their souls’ (Horace, Epistles)

Fidei canum exemplum An example of the loyalty of dogs

How great is the dog’s sense of smell, and how faithful it is to its master, can be learned from my two dogs that you see here, the one to whom



I gave the name Bombo, and Madel, both like their mother. They have followed me on land and sea, through every place. Paris has often hosted them, and they have seen Rome all unknowing, and Naples, that new and beautiful city; and the far part of Germany that is esteemed the best; they have also wandered through Belgium. And I hope they will be taken shortly to my sweet, calling homeland. These dogs merit their fame. Why would you deny that these loyal companions have reason? homeland] elsewhere in his Emblemata, Sambucus describes Trnava and, more generally, Pannonia (Hungary and Transylvania) as his ‘patria’ Joannes Sambucus, Emblemata cum aliquot nummis antiqui operas (Antwerp, 1564), trans. Wendy Bracewell. On Sambucus, A. S. Q. Visser, Joannes Sambucus and the Learned Image: The Use of the Emblem in Late-Renaissance Humanism (Leiden & Boston, 2005).


Instructions for Travel: Ars apodemica David Frölich, 1639 David Frölich (or Fröhlich) (1595–1648), a Zipser (German) Lutheran, was born in Kesmark (now Kežmarok, Slovak Republic), and was appointed Mathematician to the Imperial Court in 1637. His ‘essence of practical geography’ was dedicated to ‘the travellers of this wartime age’, offering all necessary information on the ‘nobler and more accessible parts of Europe’.

He who has been well prepared for travel cannot be held back by frightened parents; he will not be wept over by brothers and sisters, he will not be held back by household troubles, and once on the way, will not be delayed by inclement weather, howling winds, pouring rain or heavy hailstorms doing damage to the farmer. When he takes rest, for him there is no unfriendly innkeeper to offer him burnt bread, rotten fish, sour adulterated wine and a lousy, dirty, infected bed. […] If he boards a boat, he will not become seasick. There will be no unfortunate stars for him, nor gusts of wind and howling storms; he will be safe from pirates and robbers, those threatening pursuers of the treasures of life, and from the other terrifying and torturous dangers that normally sur-

I. Europe in All its Variety


round wayfarers. How these and other inconveniences can be avoided is amply taught by my guide. These, and other tremendous difficulties which our lives do not lack, encourage us to nurture scholarship and knowledge, which is the greatest gift of God, through which the teaching of the gospels has reached even the most barbarous peoples. […] And in conclusion I should like humbly to beg and indeed urge you, honourable sirs, to travel these lands abroad in your years of youth, for these are eminently appropriate for travels. Travel assists the aristocrat in accommodating himself to the life of society, observing beyond the bounds of his motherland distinguished and appropriate conduct in a variety of courtly settings. As a consequence the aristocrat will imitate the manner in which princes and aristocrats abroad comport themselves, how they walk, sit, and take their ease, and their facial gestures, their looks, and the play of their hands, indeed of every delicate gesture; for it is their firm belief that such virtues are mirrored by a like spirit. And elegance comes by no means last or least, especially for the courtier, who must accord every man his due, being careful to address each according to their correct title, and duly behaving at all times in a manner that shows he has been educated within the confines of the court royal and not in the courtyard of a village. Such ritual takes its origin not from books, but springs rather from custom and practice at a number of venues. Moreover, it is meet for the aristocrat to learn foreign languages on his travels, for in their absence he will lack the favour and company of powerful princes, and be able neither to undertake important missions nor to communicate in matters of import and secrecy with ambassadors from abroad. It must be added that he cannot be of benefit to his own people, who has not observed at first hand the customs of foreign peoples and the state and condition of their empires, who has not made a study of their laws, who has not seen with his own eyes and walked on his own feet the lands of Germania, Belgium, Schweiz, Italia, Hispania, and Anglia, in sum: who has not surveyed everything that is memorable and worthwhile in distant parts. From David Frölich, Medulla geographiæ practicæ (Bardejov, 1639), trans. by Zsuzsa Varga (first extract) and Peter Sherwood (second).




Paternal Advice Mihály Nadányi, 1656 The Transylvanian aristocrat Mihály Nadányi (?–1659) wrote out instructions for his fifteen-year old son being sent to study abroad, laying out very explicitly what was expected of a Hungarian, a Calvinist and a nobleman. Such paternal instructions echoed much of the apodemic advice given in printed travel manuals (and many other Hungarian and Polish examples exist, addressed to aristocratic sons travelling abroad). While János Nadányi is exhorted to make a note of things worthy of memory, Nadányi senior expects the tutor, Gasi or Gáspár Enyedi, to keep the diary of his son’s journey.

[…] 6. Should it prove necessary on your travels to hire a coachman, ensure you do not address yourself to them directly, but entrust such matters to the care of Gasi; for in those lands it does not behoove your condition to take this part. You should none the less attend carefully to what they do, so that you might learn how to carry out such tasks yourself. In such inns where you might lodge, ensure as best you can that you are assigned clean apartments. Let your bed be made with clean sheets, lest you find you reek of dirt. Here, too, leave to Gasi any haggling and other negotiations with the innkeeper. Feel free to converse familiariter with the innkeeper and such other of his guests as appear decent folk. 7. When visiting the sights of the town, do not adopt the Hungarian style by making your first question of the natives ‘Where is the nearest public house?’, though you should keep your eyes open for these in every decent town you visit. Having first ascertained the name of the town, travel all the way through it, discovering whether the town or city be free or subject to some owner. If it should prove to be the latter, does the town pay dues or does it honour its obligation some other way? And to whom is it subject and in what wise? […] With what persons outside of the town are they in commerce, what kind of life flourishes particularly among its townspeople, and in what ways does the town stand out above all others? Do outstanding men of science dwell in the town and if so, who might they be and how many? Be sure to pay at least some of them a visit, for such notables are generally much honoured when called upon by those

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travelling through. To this end it would not be amiss to purchase an album while still you are in Vienna, wherein those of scholarly bent might on occasion inscribe their names and thoughts. […] And what is the dominant faith in those parts: if it be ours and you are able to ascertain that the minister is of a decent sort, have converse with him, and try to discover how our faith came to penetrate those parts and what support it enjoys today; and if you should come across some singular, unusual matters, find them out also and note down whatever merits ink and paper. 8. In Papist towns forbear to dispute matters theological, whether amongst yourselves or with others, though the discussion of matters philosophical is in order. None the less, if hard pressed, you may touch upon the former, but do not on your own account initiate such discussion. 9. Desist from inquiring curiose at your lodgings about the confession of the innkeeper, likewise in the case of the townsfolk, and deduce this externally from their comportment rather than through direct inquiry. 10. Finding yourselves in a university town with an academy or a high school of renown, do not leave without listening to an oration or disputation, nor without making the acquaintance of one or two of the professors; though if you arrive outside the academic terms, do not abide there to await the terms of teaching. 11. Should questions be put to you, let that person who knows best the answer make response. Do not interrupt each other’s answer, but defer to the speaker. If the shortcomings of our lands be brought up, do your best to make defence; if it prove necessary to admit these, try to do so before persons who would have compassion for our fate, rather than those who would spit upon us. You must indeed comport yourselves cum dolore in such matters, so that you seem aware how grave is the illness and how you yearn for a cure. 12. On leaving Vienna, take your direction towards Utrecht […] 13. Let Gasi have about him a book, in which he describes the route from Vienna to Utrecht, with all the villages and towns on the way; then the amount spent on every single item, the difficulties and problems met with and how they were overcome; and a careful survey of all the towns, in the manner described earlier. I should like you to visit Bohemia and see Prague, with its university, and the court of the Emperor now situated there. 14. In matters of eating and drinking and lodgings, let the Hungarians there resident be your guide; make sure your garments are appropriate at all times, and never stoop to bragging, anywhere.



In Magyar utazási irodalom 15–18. század, ed. S.I. Kovács (Budapest, 1990), trans. Peter Sherwood. For a similar seventeenth-century paternal instruction from Jakub Sobieski, the father of King Jan Sobieski of Poland, see Antoni Mączak, Travel in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1995), 156.


He who has this book in his home, has a great treasure Proskynetarion, 1742 Proskynetaria, or descriptions of Jerusalem and other Orthodox holy places such as Mount Athos, are sometimes to be found transcribed and inserted in pilgrimage accounts. In the eighteenth century they were among the most popular printed genres in the Orthodox world. This is the afterword to a vernacular Bulgarian translation of a Greek manuscript describing the churches and monasteries of Jerusalem; it suggests that written words could serve to guide the Orthodox faithful on both real and imaginary pilgrimages.

Hear ye, all you devout and Orthodox Christians, both great and small, men and women, fathers and brothers! This book was not to be found in the Bulgarian tongue, but I, sinner that I am, Nikifor by name, from the town of Sliven, have been zealous to transcribe this book from the Greek, so that it may be read in our tongue. Whosoever reads it, and whosoever hears it, let him say: ‘God preserve him, who wrote this account, which has made known to us the holy city of Jerusalem and the holy places.’ He who has this book in his home, has a great treasure. Blessed are those who inquire after the holy site, after the holy city of Jerusalem, that fair and comely place, for you will be able to tell him how it appears and what everything is, so that it will seem to him that he has travelled there, and has become familiar with it. This book was completed on [the saint’s day of] St. Sava the Blessed, in the year 1742, in the Holy Lavra. Glory to our God for all eternity. Amen. Afterword to a proskynetarion preserved in an eighteenth-century compendium, in S. Giurova & L. Danova (eds.), Kniga na bŭlgarskite khadzhii (Sofia, 1985), trans. Wendy Bracewell.

Variations: Pilgrims, Emissaries, Scholars and Adventurers

The following selection of extracts concentrates on some of the most common models for early modern east European travel writing (especially the embassy diary, the pilgrimage narrative, the educational peregrination and the captivity account), while at the same time hinting at the diversity of perspectives and experiences that are recorded in such accounts. The selection also suggests differences in the character and purpose of travel writing in different contexts. The diplomatic relation collated information on foreign parts for the benefit of the state, while erudite and elegantly-structured humanist travel letters in addition conveyed information about the scholar-traveller; both the pilgrimage narrative and the captivity tale served as testimony to trials and temptations encountered and overcome, as well as cataloguing holy sites or infidel institutions; the student’s journal of his peregrinations also demonstrated his educational progress. These extracts illustrate some of the ways by which travellers from the east of Europe comprehended the divisions of their world and located themselves. The social distance between the lettered, cosmopolitan traveller and the unlettered (and therefore barbarian) peasant is one that is repeated time and again. Differences of faith—between Christian and ‘Turk’, for instance, or Catholic and Protestant—are also much emphasized. However, these oppositions can also be played out in travel narratives in ways that undercut assumptions about their fundamental character, dramatizing links across difference. Travel writers also present themselves as members of other communities, recognizing ties that link them to a native place, a political entity or a professional or scholarly circle. Through Christendom long retained its importance for self-identification, particularly on the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, travel accounts gradually come to be framed in terms of a secular Europe. Apodemic handbooks, with their tables of things worthy of note, beginning with geographical features and moving through urban landscapes and political institutions to manners and customs, played a part in this process of



‘Europeanization’. Such works taught educated travellers to see and to understand Europe as a single multi-polar space, made up of cities, provinces and states each with their own diverse characteristics ‘in all their variety,’ to cite the title of the Hungarian Márton Szepsi Csombor’s Europica Varietas (1620). Few early modern travellers locate themselves or the people whom they meet with reference to the East/West cardinal points of a civilizational geography. The varieties of Europe were not yet so easily classified. This began to change in the eighteenth century, with travel accounts written in the service of the new Enlightened science of man (or ethnologia, a term itself introduced in the 1780s by a Slovak historian and Orientalist, Adam František Kollár), which helped to spread the vocabulary of advancement and backwardness, light and darkness. Where that light and darkness lay, however, would long be a matter of debate.


Journey to the Occident Nicander Nucius, 1546 Andronikos Noukios or Nicander Nucius, to use the humanist variant this refugee from Ottoman-occupied Corfu adopted in Venice, joined the entourage of Gerard Veltwyck von Ravenstein, Envoy of Charles V, in 1545 and travelled with him first to Constantinople, and then across Europe to London. The Greek manuscript account of his travels is an exemplary sixteenth-century travel text, mixing observation, conjecture and hearsay in equal measure. Though Nucius explicitly rejects those tales that seem to him frivolous, he seems to find it natural that Ireland, on the far western periphery of Europe, should be both marvellous and strange, while to this urbane traveller from the Levant, the English are only somewhat barbarous.

You are probably acquainted, my dearest Nicolaus, with the incidents that befell me in Italy and Germany, and, to speak briefly, in Belgium within the Rhine, as far as Calais; which have been detailed by me in a former volume. I  now proceed to state those which occurred from Calais and the passage itself to the British island of England; also what

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things in it were seen by myself, and heard from others, respecting its position and nature, the greatness of its cities, and the customs of those who dwell in them; with whatever else I have been able to collect. What related to Belgium I addressed to ____, a gentleman of great learning, and worthy of respect. But the things which will now be narrated by me, I will dedicate to you, my dearest Cornelius. For I know that you have endured and suffered much, and have lived much in foreign climes, and have undergone very many peregrinations; that you have sailed to the cities situated on the shores of the Euxine, and have become acquainted with the manners of the barbarians. And that you might also know something of those of northern and Atlantic countries, I thought I ought to relate these things to you, who are a person of such a character. For both you and myself ancestorially hath been fated, if such thing is, a life spent abroad. Wherefore with propriety I  write to you these things, knowing you to be a person fond of listening and of being informed. […] Having therefore disembarked, and tarried one day in the inns, on the morrow, horses having been prepared for us, we mounted and proceeded on our journey to the King; and arrived in Greenwich, a village in the neighborhood of London, the capital of England. Whereupon, having been presented to the King, who was at this time residing in his palace, Gerardus, the Ambassador, laid before him the instructions he had received from the Emperor; to which the King having both graciously acceded, and appointed for us suitable lodgings and accommodations, he himself returned to London. And having apartments somewhere near the royal palace, we awaited the King’s final despatch of the affairs laid before him. Being thus circumstanced, in order that I might not seem to have wasted the opportunity inconsiderably and idly, it appeared good to me to investigate the peculiarities of the island, and to ascertain, as far as lay in my power, the things appertaining to it. The island itself, then, is said to be the greatest of those in the world, except Taprobane and Thule, by those who have formerly examined such matters, and to be triangular in shape. […] And on the coast it has several cities of note, and forts, and towns. And amongst the cities, indeed, which are conspicuous and celebrated are Antonia and Bristol, Danebium and Dartenicum, and London, which surpasses these; and the palaces which are in it in beauty and magnitude excel the others. And a river flows through it, both great and navigable, having



a very rapid current, for six hours flowing downwards, and again rising for six hours. […] And a certain very large bridge is built, affording a passage to those in the city to the opposite inhabited bank, supported by stone cemented arches, and having also houses and turrets upon it. And one may see ferry boats and small barks, which are rowed with speed, plying in great numbers on the banks, for the accommodation of the city. But merchants’ ships, which arrive in London from every country, ascend by the river to the city, and import wine and oil, and other articles of subsistence. […] Almost all, indeed, except the nobles, and those in attendance on the royal person, pursue mercantile concerns. And not only does this appertain to men, but it devolves in a very great extent upon women also. And to this, they are wonderfully addicted. And one may see in the markets and streets of the city married women and damsels employed in arts, and barterings, and affairs of trade, undisguisedly. But they display great simplicity and absence of jealousy in their usages towards females. For not only do those who are of the same family and household kiss them on the mouth with salutations and embraces, but even those too who have never seen them. And to themselves this appears by no means indecent. And London, in temples and public edifices, and baths, surpasses all the cities of England. And somewhere about the middle of the city a certain place is set apart, where there is daily and assemblage of merchants, from which there arise very extensive barterings and traffic. […] And they possess a peculiar language, differing in some measure from all others, having received contributions from almost all the rest, both in words and in syllables, as I conjecture. For although they speak somewhat barbarously, yet their language has a certain charm and allurement, being sweeter indeed than that of the Germans and Flemish. As regards their manners and mode of living, ornaments and garments and vestments, they resemble the French more than others, and for the most part they use their language. And in feasts and drinkings, and in pledgings of health and carousals, they differ in nothing from the French. And their nobles and rulers, and those in authority, are replete with benevolence and good order, and are courteous to strangers. But the rabble and the mob are as it were turbulent and barbarous in their manner, as I have observed from experience and intercourse. And towards the Germans and Flemish and Italians, and the Spanish also,

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they are friendly disposed. But towards the French they entertain not one kindly sentiment of good will; but from some natural disposition, being very hostilely disposed, they are animated towards them with private and public feelings of enmity. Hence, too, some few only of the French merchants reside in the island, both because their Kings, frequently without proclamation, wage on each other no trivial war, and it being doubtful if their residence shall be safe. Wherefore, indeed, the French rarely dwell in London. […] […] The island itself is divided into two parts. And that portion verging towards the continent is named England, and the cities in it English cities. But the western portion is called Scotland. And there is a considerable river called the Tweed, and it separates England from Scotland. And England possesses its own King; and Scotland likewise appoints a King from among its own people. And ever as it were these Kings, being inimical, perpetually fighting about the limits of their country, cruelly destroy each other in a kind of barbarous and savage warfare. And on the banks of the Tweed certain forts have been built, for protection of the boundaries. And that portion of Scotland is somewhat northern, hence also cold; yet fruitful in wheat, and abounding in animals common with us. They have also cities renowned and large, where is the royal residence and government, no way inferior to that of England. And here also commercial transactions take place; and ships arrive from the continent. And towards the French they are friendly disposed; but they are most hostilely bent against the English. And being tributary to the English, they have often stirred up war, to free themselves from the tribute; but they have been unsuccessful, since the English kept them down by superior skill and force. For the Scotch are a more barbarous people in their manner of living than the English. […] And there is also a certain other island, called Hibernia, and Ireland as well, large and populous. For it measures six hundred miles; being not further distant towards the south than 35 miles from the island of the English. It possesses towns and cities. But the inhabitants reject political institutions, and other importations, with whatever else pertains to them. And it is no long time since it has been reduced under subjection to the King of England; and from him it receives its administration. And respecting the island itself, they related to me certain strange and marvellous tales. They fabulously tell that Hades and the gates of Hades are there, imagining that they hear the groans of men under-



going punishment; and they add, moreover, that various spectres and adverse powers are seen; and they further tell of perfumed springs, and of milky water; and other things equally nonsensical, which I have omitted as fabulous and trifling. Such things then as appeared to me to be true, and susceptible of sober consideration, these I relate. The island Hibernia, then, is of a fruitful nature, and yields corn, and furnishes animals of all kinds; and whatever things are in England and Scotland, in none of these is it inferior. But yet they do not pay so much attention to civil polity. As many, indeed, as live in cities and walled towns have something of human polity and administration. But such, on the other hand, as live in forests and bogs are entirely wild and savage; and there remains only the human form, whereby they may be distinguished to be men. They are tall, fair-complexioned, and rather light haired; wearing much hair on their heads, and having a shaggy beard. They go at all seasons without any other clothing than that which covers their loins. And neither heat nor cold annoys or enfeebles them. But they devote themselves to archery, and practice running with excessive endurance, so as frequently to contend in speed with horses and hunting dogs. And they gird on their thigh a barbaric sword, not very long, and in their left hand they carry certain javelins. And they throw with so good an aim, that their skill in hitting the mark is by many thought to be marvellous. They wear neither covering on their heads nor shoes to their feet; are swift of foot, and engage in battle hand to hand; habituating themselves to feats of desperate courage and hardihood. And as many of them as appear to live in a more civilized manner, having sewed together vestments of linen and hemp of all colours, clothe themselves in garments extending to their feet, and made after a barbaric fashion. And their wives also are accustomed to wear something of the same kind. And towards their own females they conduct themselves with too great simplicity; inasmuch as sometimes they have sexual intercourse with them in public; neither does this appear to themselves shameful. They feed on everything, and gorge themselves to excess with flesh. They are continually eating milk and butter. And if the King of England need their service, they are able to muster to the number of ten thousand or even more. And the men, being valorous in feats of war, have frequently acquired renown. These then are the particulars known to me respecting these men. Nicholaus and Cornelius] Greek compatriots of Nucius’s in Venice, though who they were cannot be identified with any great certainty   Euxine] Black Sea   Gerardus]

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Gerard Veltwyck von Ravenstein, Flemish humanist and Orientalist, privy counsellor of Charles V   Taprobane] The classical name given to Sri Lanka   Thule] the farthermost island of the northern ocean, usually identified as Greenland   Antonia and Bristol, Danebium and Dartenicum] the only name that can be identified in Nucius’s list with any certainty is Bristol   a certain very large bridge] London Bridge. From The Second Book of Travels of Nicander Nucius of Corcyra, trans. J. A. Cramer (London, 1841). For a French translation of Nucius’s full account, see Nicander Nucius (Nicandre de Corcyre), Le voyage d’Occident, trans. & ed. Paolo Odorico (Toulouse, 2002). On Nucius and his travels, see Maria Kostaridou, ‘Hodoeiporicon, Periegesis, Apodemia: Early Modern Greek Travel Writing on Europe’ in Balkan Departures: Travel Writing from Southeastern Europe, ed. W. Bracewell and A. Drace-Francis (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009).


A Land so Foreign to Ours Antonius Verantius, 1553 The Dalmatian Antonius Verantius (1504–1573; humanist, historian, archbishop of Esztergom and primate of Hungary), was sent in 1553 as a Habsburg emissary to the court of Suleiman the Magnificent. His journal can be read alongside the better-known ‘Turkish Letters’ published by Ogier de Busbecq, another Habsburg emissary who joined Verantius and his companions some time later. Both men were similarly horrified by their initial encounters with Christian captives being driven to market, and were equally astonished at the strange way that the Bulgarian women adorned themselves, but the Croatian-speaking Verantius was able to converse with the local Slavs, and recorded their own interpretations of history and toponymy, even while viewing them through the lens of classical antiquity.

From the village of Livada we departed on the fourth day of the said month [August] and, having passed quickly through a not too large forest, which as I have already noted is called Lomnica, in about three miles we came to a ford across the Morava, called Derventa from the hill beneath which it lies; and by which name the nearby village is also known. This forest, however, though neither wide nor very dense, nonetheless is infamous for ambushes by brigands.



When we began to cross the river here, however, other Turks came to meet us, among whom one stood out for his bearing and dress. After them came five Egyptians, those whom we today call Gypsies or Cingani. A chain secured their necks, and they went one after the other in line, uttering mournful cries and lamenting their misery. I  asked who they were and why these men were in chains. They replied that they were collectors of tribute, which consists in part in money and in part in children. I was appalled at this infamous tithe and outrage. I discovered that it had been the custom to collect this tax in children every fifth year, but now it comes every second or third year, and more strictly than permitted by law: out of greed they snatch away even those who are illicit as prey, and haggle over their ransom, returning them only having extorted payment. So it happens that the miserable plebs, as soon as they hear that the tribute collectors have been dispatched and that they are approaching, hide their children in the woods or send them elsewhere until this plague passes. They do not reveal this cruelty immediately after their conquests, but only later, when they have extended the borders of their possessions further and they have well ordered their acquisitions. Let those who aspire to the Turkish sceptre and who believe that they nurture clemency towards our race think well on that. This was the deceit that entangled the Greeks and the Moesians and the Thracians and the rest of those who were conquered earlier. Now their power is directed against us, all the rest already having been defeated. […] On the fifth of August we left Jagodina, and by an easy path, which we took that day in very irksome heat, we arrived in a village called Ražnji [Rasgni]. This village is located six miles from said Jagodina, under a hill, and the local inhabitants call it Ražnji, which is to say, ‘spits’. In this place, where two hills meet and leave only a narrow pass, when the Turkish advances began to press the last Serbian Princes mightily, into the deepest interior, to the very gates of Smederevo, the last refuge of their authority, they placed as a barrier the felled trunks of trees, stripped of their branches, sharpened, lashed together and turned like spikes in the direction of their enemies’ attacks. (The ancients called such a device ‘cervos’.) They say that this happened in the time of Lazar who, as we know, was killed by the Great Turk Amurath on the same day, along with Miloš Obilić. This village, previously having had another name, was devastated by the invaders’ frequent attacks and destroyed.

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After some time, when this whole region was subjugated and placed under Turkish authority, it was re-established by the old inhabitants but, having altered its rulers, it altered also its name and was called Ražnji, after that device in the form of spits, and this is an Illyrian word. In this place, having been so informed by our host, we discovered for the first time that the road by which we were travelling was built in the Roman manner and was called after Trajan, having its starting point in Belgrade and its end in Constantinople. I was amazed that the memory of this great Emperor still survived amongst such uncultivated barbarians. However, though I had paid no attention to this road from Belgrade as far as this village, whether because it had been shifted elsewhere or whether because the earth had covered it over, henceforward I  observed it more carefully and confirmed that it was indeed so. [Details of its construction follow, and of the classical inscriptions Vrančić discovered in Niš, the Nessus of the Romans. After leaving Niš the party entered the Kunovica gorge, heading towards Bulgaria.] That day we crossed only the first part of the Kunovica gorge and came to the village of Suha Klisura [Zuha Clyssura], which the Bulgarians and Rascians are correct to call Suha Klisura, which is to say ‘dry crag’. This is a poor, wretched place. However, here we first saw the jewellery with which the Bulgarian women adorn themselves. It appeared to us both simple and trifling, almost ridiculous—if we are not to excuse for their simplicity a people oppressed by the Turks, and above all rustic, so that they scarcely recognize their own humanity. There is no need to speak of their clothing: it is all shaggy, coarse and poor, perhaps like the frieze-cloth worn by the ancients. They decorate only their sleeves and the breasts of their shirts roughly, with variegated silks of many colours. But let us examine the little chains on their heads, necks and ears more attentively. They part their hair on the forehead and work it in slender and thicker plaits, and then draw the plaits so gathered over their temples and above their ears, adding as a sort of supplement woollen yarn dyed the colour of their hair to make it seem more luxuriant. They let it down behind, bundled in something like a net, and let it hang below their belts. Thus the maidens. Married women comb their hair up and in place of hair hang coloured silk ribbons from the back of the head. The rest, which I will now describe, is common to both. Their hats are in the form of baskets, made of very fine withies and in such a way that the end which with us covers the head and is closed



above, with them is open, and is placed on the head so that the wider part is turned up to the heavens. It is as if one were to lift the skirts of a dress above the shoulders so that the shirtfront remained nethermost. From within appears completely uncovered hair; it is something like an Egyptian diadem, flat as a disk. This hat is wrapped on all sides with a white linen cloth and is decorated all over the outside with something like little coins, some attached, some stuck on, made of lead, brass and glass, and many similar shiny little objects which are worth nothing but jingle with every movement. In addition they place on their heads all sorts of flowers and herbs of any sort of attractiveness whatsoever. And they dot about bunches of grapes, acorns, beans and similar things. Their ears are pierced in four or five places and they hang in them leaden earrings which are a much heavier burden than they ought to be. They have bracelets and bangles of similar material, but mostly among the older women; usually both the maidens and the old women have many brass rings which they wear on the ends of their fingers. They wear necklaces too, but not of gold and silver. A special place is taken by seashells of various sorts, and then little beads like our prayer-beads, made of glass. Then come the little bells with which we ring hawks, then those Rhenish brass counters used for reckoning, little pieces of steel chain armour, and finally they fasten every glittering object they can find in necklaces, and hang them around their necks in several strings. Those who are the most distinguished in the village are not content with one such necklace and put on two, three or four. There were many such who came before us and wondered—they at us, and we at them and at their jewellery. One asked us whether our women adorned themselves so beautifully? Fortunate are they who know nothing of our luxury, and find their own in objects of no value. They are just as happy with their poverty as our women are with their wealth. Moesians and Thracians] Verantius uses these classical names to denote the Serbs and Bulgarians   Lazar] Prince Lazar Hrebljanović, killed at Kosovo in 1389   Amurath] Sultan Murad I   Miloš Obilić] The Serbian knight who is supposed to have killed Murad at the battle of Kosovo   Illyrian] Verantius here and elsewhere uses the classicist’s term ‘Illyrian’ for the Slavic tongue   Rascians] Serbs From Iter Buda Hadrianopolim anno MDLIII. Exaratum ab Antonio Verantio (Venice, 1774), trans. Wendy Bracewell. For an edition of Busbecq’s letters, see Ogier Ghislen de Busbecq, Turkish Letters, trans. E.S. Forster (Oxford, 1927, repr. London, 2001).

I. Europe in All its Variety


Pilgrimage Diary An Anonymous Pole, 1595 This anonymous sixteenth-century Polish traveller left a lively account cataloguing both the profane marvels and the sacred relics he saw in the course of his travels across Europe. In Malta during Easter in 1595, his critical faculties and his faith came close to conflict. His account shows him as both an insider, a member of the Catholic faithful and part of a shared culture of belief, and an outsider, a curious observer of the strange and foreign world through which he was travelling.

24 March On Friday I went into the old town, which they call Malta, now known as the Citta Vecchia. The fortress is not bad, but somewhat neglected and spoiled by the Turks, as I could see. I was also in the church of St. Paul and the grotto on the right hand side of the church, where they mine the rocks for poison, or so I learned. They say that St. Paul lived in this grotto, but that is probably a fairytale, because he did not live there for long and what use to him was this earthly cave, since as St. Luke witnesses (Acts ch. 28): qui nos suscipiens triduo benigne excepit. I believe in the second grotto, as I will explain below. 25 March On Saturday I attended the great mass, which the minister celebrated solenniter and cum toto ordine; for the Gloria etc. they fired cannons and in the church they even gave out white wax imprints of one of the thirty coins of Judas. To the tomb, which they had constructed for those days, they had taken all the relics out of the treasury, and these were placed in the sacristy after that mass post crastinam solennitatem. I wished to see these relics both ex curiostitate et ex devotione, so after the mass I  asked the sacristan if he would show them to me. Taking me with him into the sacristy, he first showed me the hand palmam dextram integram of St. John the Baptist, as fresh as if it had just been cut from the body, and opening the crystal case, he gave it to me to kiss with my unworthy lips, which, sinner that I am, I took for the greatest holy blessing that I have ever received in my whole life, for the cheering of my spirit and



the confirmation of the most holy catholic faith which my Lord in his mercy did grant me; he also gave me a piece of that saint’s nose to kiss, and the whole leg of St. Lazari Quadriduani, the finger of St. Mary Magdalene, part of the head of St. Ursula (which surprised me, because I saw the whole head in Cologne and touched it with my unworthy lips; ha, the Venetians also boast that they have the hand of St. John, which cannot be heard absque scandalo. I would advise that this error should be corrected by those who are responsible, but I probably sin in saying so. My Lord God, forgive me for this, and grant me good reason. I know certainly and I believe, that Your church cannot err; I somehow cannot understand it, perhaps it was either the other hand or some part of the head which I did not see, because I was not shown it in Cologne, only the surface of her and the hair, what more there was in the silver casing I cannot tell, or I can also say with St. Ambrose: Quidquid sit, fides purgat facinus, cum nemo fidelium ferrum colat, D. Christi potius passionem veneret et addoret in ferro. He responds in this way to the question of the great number of nails of the Lord Jesus’ [cross]. Exhort. ad Virgin.)—the whole body of St. Euphemia, brachium s. Johannis Elemosinarii, brachium s. Pangratii, spinam coronae Christi, two little crosses from the wood of the Holy Cross, one fairly large, the second two fingers high, verem effigiem in bronze s. Johannis Baptisae. (Acts ch. 28): qui nos suscipiens triduo benigne excepit] Luke writes that on Malta a man called Publius took in Paul and his companions, ‘and lodged us three days courteously’ (correctly, ‘exhibuit’)   post crastinam solennitatem] after the following day’s festival   palmam dextram integram] the whole right hand   St. Lazari Quadriduani] Lazarus who died on the fourth day St. Ursula] Cologne was the site of the supposed martyrdom of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virginal handmaidens   absque scandalo] without scandal   Quidquid sit…] Whatever it is, faith cleanses the offence, since none of the faithful worships iron, but rather venerates and honours the passion of Lord Jesus Christ in this iron   brachium s. Johannis Elemosinarii…] the arm of St. John the Almsgiver, the arm of St. Pancras, a thorn from Christ’s crown   verem effigiem…] the true likeness of St. John the Baptist Anonima Diarjusz peregrynacji włoskiej, hiszpańskiej, portugalskiej: 1595, ed. by J. Czubek (Kraków, 1925), trans. Kate Wilson.


I. Europe in All its Variety


An Armenian Pilgrimage to Rome Simēon of Poland, 1611 Simēon was born in 1584 in Zamość, a member of Poland’s substantial sixteenth-century Armenian community. As a result of his studies, he writes: ‘my heart constantly yearned and my body longed to travel, to visit the fabulous unknown provinces and the lands of the non-Christians; as well as to go on a pilgrimage’. His travel account is the fruit of a twelveyear journey to the holy places of West and East: Constantinople, Rome, Jerusalem and the monastery of St. John the Baptist in the province of Muş in eastern Anatolia, an important centre of Armenian pilgrimage. Simēon’s praise for the ‘Franks’ (and especially their piety, to which he attributes all their other blessings) parallels his reproofs directed to fellow Armenians.

From [Sarajevo] we reached the city of Klis, on the border of the Franks, in two and a half days. This side belongs to the Turks and that side, the Franks. A river flows in between. On route, however, we experienced so much sorrow, difficulty, fear and torment from robbers and bandits that even [a caravan of] 500 or 600 people feared to move on. […] When we crossed to the other side of the river and entered the fortress of Split, soldiers came to meet us. We were overjoyed and thought they had come to honour us. But they took us to a house, which is called Nazaret, shut the door on us, and left. Not knowing their language or the circumstances surrounding the event, we remained there in depressing sorrow and cried all day. In the evening, looking out of the window, we saw many merchants—Christians and Muslims—from various cities: Istanbul, Angora, Edirne, [New] Julfa and other regions. Conversing with them, we asked, ‘Why have they detained us?’ They replied that such was their custom; even if the Sultan of Turkey came they had to put him in quarantine. Hearing this we became so distressed and such an irreparable melancholy came over us that our entire being was disturbed and our tongues dried out. We suffered thus in jail and in chains and even avoided each other; no one came to visit us and we did not see anyone. On the second day they brought a gvardian, that is, a nazr, and said that he shall carry out and buy whatever we wish. However, we did not know his tongue, nor did he know ours. We, therefore,



explained to him via hand signs, like dumb people. If we asked for food, even fruit, they handed it to us through the window and we threw out the money. [Seeing all these calamities, Simēon, with a deep sigh, composes a long lament: ‘this quarantine resembles Hades … Lord, show us the way, lead us out through the gates, so we can go and see the lands of the Franks, the tombs of Peter and Paul’.] They came every week, examined our worn clothes, bags, silk, shook them and hung them on ropes. They hung thus till evening. We somewhat comforted ourselves by talking to the Armenians who stood at a distance. They told us that there were different quarantines: […] Those who have goods made of felt, leather, wool, or items made of mohair, are kept for forty days. If they have nothing with them, they are kept for twenty days. We had nothing, but the vardapet had several rolls of wool to present as gifts to the Pope; because of that they detained us for forty days. Alas! Alas! Alas! Woe is me! […] At the conclusion of the forty days they took us out. Entering the city, we saw magnificent churches, tall bell towers made of stone […]. Large gold-gilded crosses stood on top of the churches and bell towers. Muslims were no longer visible and the Turkish law did not exist. Everything was Christian. Seeing all this, we became overjoyed, cheered up, revived in body and soul, so that we even forgot our torments and pains in the trip and in the quarantine. From here on, the rule and might of the Muslims disappeared and Christ and Christians reigned. [Simēon travels through Venice to Rome, and describes in great detail its wonders, sacred and secular, ancient and modern. He mixes this with praise of the Franks for their godliness and laments over the Armenians.] How can I praise the Franks more? What other wonderful things can I say about these very good, God-fearing, humble, mild, sensitive, and kind people? Their palms are always ready to hand out favours; there are turned up for prayers; their mouths give blessings; their tongues glorify [God]; their hearts feel pity and sorrow; their minds seek to advance forward; their feet take them to church and to schools. For their great meekness, God has given them much glory and power, goods and treasures, and houses built from polished stone. […] Not only the workers, peasants, and the city people, but high-ranking princes, and even the great and almighty ruler of Spain, wear black and go to church on foot every day. All of them, clergy and laymen, as well as peasants, are wise and inquisitive. For among them there are theologians, philosophers, and musicians, geometricians and astronomers. A ten-year-old boy can count 10,000

I. Europe in All its Variety


drams in one hour. Meanwhile, our people have become very removed from God’s commandments and have forgotten them; we even do not recall God’s name. Because of that, we do not have any love for learning. […] My point is that, among [the Franks], even small children are like real vardapets and know the dogma of the faith, the profession of the holiest Trinity; Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, as well as other secular learning, for they study fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years, not near their parents, but faraway, in foreign countries. […] The Pope has gathered in his city representatives of the seventy-two nations. Each nation has its own church, hospice, schools, kitchens, beds, and mattresses. The Armenians also have a church, a hospice, and school, although there are no children there, save two, for the Armenians are few [in Rome]. They have also established a printing press, which we saw with our own eyes. May God illuminate their souls for they worry about us more than we do ourselves! They told us that the printing press cost 10,000 kuruş. However, at present, just like in Venice, it is idle: because of the carelessness and the evil disposition of our people, there is no manager and no workers. Klis] fortress on the frontier between Ottoman Bosnia and Venetian Dalmatia Nazaret] Lazaretto, place of quarantine against the plague   gvardian] guard or caretaker < guardiano (It.)   nazr] superintendent, overseer (Tur.)   Franks] Western Christians   vardapet] priest in the inner hierarchy of the Armenian Church; here Zak’aria, legate to Rome, with whom Simeon was travelling   kuruş] silver coin, piastre < Grosch (Germ.) The Travel Accounts of Simēon of Poland, trans. and ed. George A. Bournoutian (Costa Mesa, CA., 2007).


Europe’s Diversity: England Márton Szepsi Csombor, 1620 Márton Szepsi Csombor, born 1595 in Northern Hungary (now Slovakia), educated locally and in Transylvania and Danzig, wrote the first travel book printed in Hungarian, Europica varietas (1620). Before settling down


Orientations in Košice in 1619 as a schoolmaster and Calvinist minister, he journeyed through Poland, Denmark, Holland, Friesia, France, England, Germany, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, often travelling on foot, with very modest means, delighting in the sights he saw, the people he met and the mishaps he experienced. His object is equally to inform and to entertain: he is obviously aware of the advice given to travellers in manuals such as Frölich’s (and may well have met him at school), but he also gives the reader details of his personal reactions and reminiscences. Europe for Szepsi Csombor is a continent of wonders, with its divisions largely confessional and linguistic.

[…] My travels through this country were as follows: LONDINUM, where I was amazed above all at the people’s ignorance of Latin, because I went along three whole streets among merchants, furriers, tailors etc. and nowhere found a single person that could speak to me in Latin, but after a long time I came upon an Italian on whom I expended the little Italian that I know, and who directed me to the common master of the Italians, saying that there was there a young Hungarian gentleman, at which I was highly delighted and sought him most assiduously, but although he called himself a Hungarian he could not speak a word of Hungarian to me because he was a Czech, and had only wished to give himself a good name in coming from a distant land and therefore had called himself Hungarian. Going from there I  took lodgings at the Fox and Hounds before the great bridge. As I  went out to look at London’s three streets first of all, which are very handsome and wide, I observed fine paved roads adorned with big houses and countless channels of running water, although the poor contend for the water, taking it in wooden vessels and bearing it from street to street to sell it. Besides these, there are in the big main street very tall stone buildings and pillars with the arms of the city, decorated with amazingly beautiful images, but the other streets are extremely narrow and many are not troubled by the light of the sun. I have seen big cities in the countries where I have been, but never before one like this, because its circumference, not only in their opinion but mine too, is four and a half Hungarian mérföld. The bridge over the river Thames is big, the third wonder of the land of England, with eighteen arches; it is a veritable town in itself, with a church on it and countless merchants’ shops. The royal castle (the court is different, of which I shall speak below) is on a high stone wall above the sea, with four towers in a

I. Europe in All its Variety


big square with no decoration at all, and was built by Julius Caesar. In front of this castle are 270 big old bronze cannon, which were captured from the Spanish during the sea-battle in the time of Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory, and she triumphed over them, causing her arms to be engraved on each of them, and they are kept here in a heap simply for a memento, as it were. Just near here at the side of a house are two very fine water-channels, at which I  was once drinking with great pleasure when a Frenchman, thinking that I  was of his nation, reproached me most severely; he held it a disgrace in the eyes of those that lived there that one of his race should drink water, but on learning of my country he embraced me and begged my pardon, and left me honourably. As I went from there by a small gate into the city I encountered a crowd of Saracen girls whom armed robbers had just brought from Ethiopia, and as they were selling them they had dressed them in very fine clothes. Compared to Holland the place is not expensive, but for us it is certainly very dear, because one can eat daily five garas’ worth of bread and vegetables. They mostly drink beer, and after Danish beer I have not tasted another sort as good under Heaven. There is a great quantity of fish, and I saw crayfish so big, I tell no lie, they were no smaller than ten-day-old piglets, and far from eating them the sight of them would have made me feel nauseous for a long time; previously I was amazed, but it is now nothing, at the shell of the crayfish-claw which the late Miklós Szabó of Nagybánya had, which, as I have seen, held a meszely of wine, because in these we would find an icce, and a big crayfish like that sold for three garas. […] When a ship comes up the River Thames, which is wider than the Bodrog, into the city it is the custom for all its cannon to be fired for the king’s pleasure, and sometimes one hears two hundred shots in a day, which would often harm the houses if it were on dry land, but as it is on the water it can do no harm. Here in England I observed how greatly it pleases or distresses one who is in a foreign land to see things that in only a tiny respect resemble the things of his homeland, for when I was out walking and feeling very sad I saw three Muscovites dressed in their fashion, which is not greatly different from ours, their high-heeled yellow boots, the one in green, the other two in violet; the sight of them had such an effect on my heart that I assure you I scarcely could tell where I was for my thoughts. Leaving London I made for Canterbury, and on the way first I had to ascend a terrible hill, but God very soon gave me a pleasant Walloon



as travelling-companion who, after going with me three or four mérföld, called for a horse to ride and left me, poor foreign fellow. From this terrible hill one can see far and wide, as it were a little province, over the city of London; there is a very large iron lamp at the very top, at which the city has stationed men so that if anything occurs in the hills they shall send news to the nearby villages and towns, and if the people ever see the fire lit they come from all sides ready to rush upon the enemy. From there I observed as far as I could see, a large part of England, in which I  wondered at the size rather than the numbers of their cattle, and can surely say that the cows in that country are as big and fat as any oxen in Hungary, and if only you were to see two thousand in a herd, all black, and the oxen as sturdy and fat as the buffalo in Hungary, and the length of their horns while they are on their heads exceeds (together with the head) the span of any man’s arms; their horns are exceeding white but they themselves are black. In the meadows rosemary grows almost as plentifully as does wormwood in Hungary, only it is not as mild as the garden variety, but if one wishes to make use of it there too it is planted in gardens. Descending from the hill I ate beside a spring, and carved my name on a tree in the following words: As through the land of England once he passed, Here Márton Csombor ate and quenched his thirst. I went dismally on and on without any companion, and when I  had passed a pleasant town called Gravesend and was in the forest beyond, all of a sudden a great Saracen appeared before me with an axe; I never saw a blacker man in my life, before or since, and he addressed me in English (for he had lived there long) but I could make no reply, but said nonetheless that I was making my way to Canterbury; I was much afraid of his axe, but God granted that he parted from me with great civility having pointed out the way. Then I came to Rochester, a nasty little town like an ancient French village but half as big, which formerly had a very hideous high castle, now completely ruinous. I  had seen stone bridges larger and smaller, but none hitherto more beautiful than here, because its whole length has been adorned for the sake of decoration with high red-painted ironwork and the arms of the king and the country, also in iron. Here I saw four big galleys and fourteen of the king’s ships, finer than which I never saw together either in Prussia, Denmark, Friesia, Holland or Zealand; every one had ports for twenty-four guns. I went into the inn, certainly not for

I. Europe in All its Variety


drink, as I was not thirsty at the time, but in order to have something to eat; for the sake of appearances I asked for an icce of beer and they, incredibly, set before me three icces simply so that I should have more to pay for, and as I was very tired and it was almost six in the evening I wished to stay there, but luck played me false, because the innkeeper’s maid, a very foolish person, big of hand and squat of body, came to me as if to pity me in my tiredness and long absence from home and began to squeeze my hand and caress my head and kiss me frequently, to which ceremony I, a Hungarian, was unaccustomed; I understood clearly to what end such caresses were directed, bethought me that I would rather be alone, roused my tired limbs and set off again. Evening drew on, and after going a good way from there I slept in a good inn called the Two Monkeys. Setting out from there next day I came to the famous Canterbury, which I had taken to be Cambridge, where Whittaker and Perkins had taught; it lies in a valley and is not visible from a great distance, and furthermore all its buildings are poor. CANTUARIUM or Cantuaria, in the English tongue Cantábury, is the greatest place of pilgrimage after St James of Compostella, St Mary of Loretto and the breeches of St Joseph in Aachen (where the ancient Hungarians went to worship an idol), to which people come because of the body of St Thomas the bishop, who was killed by three knights and buried here. When I went in I first met James Lambe, the archdeacon there, greeted him and when I enquired of him the whereabouts of the grave of the late Whittaker he replied in these words: Toto caelo errat dominus studiosus, haec civitas non est Cantabrigia sed Cantuaria, at which I was very distressed because I had wished above all to see that university, but as I had put behind me a whole thirty mérföld I was very reluctant to return. The priest saw that I regretted the wasted journey, and said: Ne paeniteat huc venisse, hic enim videbis primum miraculum Angliae, and taking me by the hand first of all, before showing me other things, took me to an inn (because they do not hold it a disgrace to eat and drink anywhere) where both he and I became very merry on English beer, and from there to his house; he sent for the key to the church in which, in papist times, the body of St Thomas of Canterbury was venerated, opened it and took me everywhere, and a more beautiful building no one ever saw, for which reason it is reckoned one of the three wonders of England. […] Next morning I  rose very early and reached the town of Dover, known as the harbour of England, at seven o’clock. It is a tiny oppidum



without any wall, but has two bastions, both overlooking the sea, with four cannon on each. It has a strong castle on the hilltop almost like that of Szepes, and its walls extend to the seashore. Here and in the other coastal towns of England, when leaving for a foreign country the sailors dare take no one aboard without a credential. Since, therefore, I wished to go to France I went to the Commissioner and since, from my dress and especially the fact that I always wore boots with yellow uppers on my travels, everyone said that I was a Walloon and took me for such, he began to question me very harshly in that tongue as to where I was going; I replied in Latin, whereupon he spoke to me in German and questioned me further, but civilly, where was I from and what was my religion? I said that I was a Protestant from the city of Frankfurt ad Oderam in Germany, and he therefore gave me a document in these terms: Probatae religionis juvenis, natione Alemanus, Martinus Czombor portum Normandicum Diepae aggredi conatur, libere, petimus, dimittatur. Subscripsit Nicolaus Katon, M. Jonas in Dover. I should have paid thirty-five garas, but the kindly men took not a farthing from me. I lodged in the Plough and Four Oxen, where a dumb girl waited on six of us, cooked, baked, laid the table for us; if I were to so much as see her cooking now certainly I would be sick enough to die, but at the time everything was good, because what the occasion brought we could not alter; she had bulbous, rheumy eyes, crippled legs, loathsome hands, certainly she had not washed once in three weeks, and if one reproved her for anything she gave a terrible scream in wordless fashion so that one’s hair all but stood on end at it, and I, when I left her, cursed her for her unbelief, but I thought that even a curse would have no effect on her. In England I never saw a single oven, as in Holland and Zealand likewise. London’s three streets] Cornhill, Cheapside and Gracechurch St., the principal thoroughfares of the day   the court is different] St James’s Palace   mérföld] a Hungarian mile   garas] a copper coin crayfish] lobsters   meszely] approximately 3 dl   icce] approximately 8 dl.   Bodrog] A river in NE Hungary   a terrible hill] Shooter’s Hill   Toto caelo errat dominus studiosus…] ‘You are entirely mistaken, learned sir, this city is not Cambridge but Canterbury’ (Csombor’s confusion may have resulted from his use of Latin names for all English places)   Ne paeniteat huc venisse…] ‘Let coming here not grieve you, for here you shall see the first wonder of England’   Probatae religionis juvenis…] ‘Martin Czombor, a young German of the true faith, wishes to go to the Normandy port of Dieppe. We request that he be allowed to pass at his pleasure’

I. Europe in All its Variety


Márton Szepsi Csombor, Europica varietas (Košice, 1620), here from ‘England 1620’, Hungarian Quarterly XLIV/171 (2003), trans. & glossed by Bernard Adams. For more on Szepsi Csombor and other Hungarian travellers, see Graeme Murdock, “‘They are laughing at us’: Hungarian travellers and early modern European identity”, in Under Eastern Eyes: A Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing, ed. W. Bracewell & A. Drace-Francis (Budapest, 2008).

s Iceland

Daniel Strejc Vetter, 1638) Daniel Vetter, a Moravian and a member of the Unity of Brethren, travelled with a fellow student to Iceland in 1613 and published slightly varying accounts of his journey in Polish, Czech and German between 1638 and 1640. There are two separate sections of Vetter’s account: the first a first-person narrative organized around the travellers’ journey, sojourn and return; the second, a description of Iceland arranged according to subject headings. The account of the travellers’ stay on the island is dominated by their disgust at the food they had to eat, and how they were saved from such a diet; this narrative, as well as the details of the journey and the other ‘strange and unusual things’ that Vetter describes, bears witness to the miracles of God’s providence.

Iceland, or a Short Description of the Island of Iceland, in Which Strange and Unusual Things Unseen in Our Lands, Some Seen by Our Own Eyes, and Some Heard From Reliable Inhabitants of That Island, Are Truthfully Recorded. Greetings to the sincere and Christian reader. At the request of several noble people, particularly dear masters and friends, I am to bring to light this short description of the island of Iceland. I have judged it appropriate firstly to make some mention of our travel to the land of Iceland, our sojourn there, and our return. I will make a short reference to those things, and then I will get to the point.



We set out on that journey to the island of Iceland from the glorious city of imperial Bremen in lower Saxony, which lies by the river Weser 14 miles from the sea: we sailed out from that city, in a small boat, to two ships, which stood on the river 6 miles from the aforementioned city, and which were to sail to Iceland. We boarded one of these and, on Ascension Day, when a good wind had arisen, we set out to sea, with God’s help, exhorting His holy name. And then, without any stop, we sailed to Iceland. On that journey, we suffered more sorrowful things than joyful and agreeable. It was, indeed, a joyful and agreeable thing that we sailed so far in 9 days that we could not only recognize, but could clearly see, from the front of the boat, Iceland, which lies 400 miles from Bremen. But that was mixed with sorrow, sadness and danger. The first danger we experienced was from sea pirates, who came upon us on the second day of our sailing, and chased after us in their great ship. We lowered the topsail on the central mast, hearing the shots they fired, and believing that they were a convoy accompanying a [merchant] ship; but when they sailed closer to us, we saw that they were pirates, from whom we took great fear and fright. Upon which, anyone who had anything good and valuable with him, hid it in straw, in his shoes, under the planks, in the best place he could find. But, beyond all our hopes, God prevented them from sailing up to us, for, having seen an inferior ship, they left us alone. They set off in another direction, however, and having sighted the other ship which was also sailing to Iceland, they chased after it until evening fell; but all in vain, for the pace of those villains’ ship was not as good as that of the other. The second grievous or dangerous thing was seasickness, which vexed and troubled us in no small measure. Several of them fell ill, including the merchant, with whom we had set out, and the mariner himself was also sick and, in a few days, when we reached the island, he died. One of his assistants, who was only ailing for one day and two nights, died on the ship. They took him straight out on to the deck of the ship and nailed him in a coffin, hoping to take him somewhere ashore and bury him, but they were unable to do so. For the sea began immediately, that very day, to rage: an ill wind began to blow so strongly from the place to which we were trying to sail, that it created a remarkable storm on the sea. At that time, not wanting to be blown all the way back again, they had to tack wildly for four days and three nights—that is, to sail back and forth from side to side. When

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the sea did not wish to become calm, and we were still unable to put to shore somewhere with that dead man, we lowered him on ropes into the sea. We do not know where the wind carried him; but we assume that it will have cast him up within three hours somewhere on a shore (which was still, however, 6 or more miles away from us). Towards evening the storm calmed down and the original wind returned. And so we sailed with fortune and God’s help, on the Friday after Holy Trinity, to the far end of Iceland, the western side, into the inlet which is near to Helgapeld. (Helgapeld is a small church with a parsonage, whose name is taken from the mountain and valley which are covered in fine grass around it). Meanwhile, on the journey, when the sea had stilled and we could see Iceland well, some of those on board were handselled: that is, those who had never been to Iceland, by those who had already been there. The handselling was as follows: one after another they were placed on a rope, dumped and dunked into the sea, and when they had been pulled back up out of the sea, they had their heads washed with seawater, and were beaten with a rope as thick as their arms. They wanted to do the same to us but we, seeing the unpleasantness of such bathing, as well as its dangers (for anyone who did not hold tight to the rope might easily fall from it into the water, and before they could pull him out again, might drown for good or drink his fill of water), we preferred to pay them off. And they do not stop the ship for the handselling, but continue with it while sailing at their fastest. And so much about our setting out on that journey. Now I  will write of our stay and sojourn on the island. Before we had the opportunity to set out from the shore somewhere into the land, we stayed with the merchant with whom we had travelled to Iceland. We spent the days on the shore, and in the evenings we went back to rest on the ship, which was close to the shore, secured and made fast by two strong anchors and many great ropes. One time when we had been onshore and were heading to rest, a tremendously great wind blew up and caused us great danger. For with the violent wind, which pressed upon the ship, the great thick ropes with which the ship was secured were ripped asunder, and the wind began to chase the ship on to a great, tall rock, so far that we were only a stone’s throw from it. The danger was so great that, had it not been, first and foremost, for God’s protection, and secondly for the one anchor which held the ship firmly, we would all have been dashed, together with the ship, against that rock, and we would surely have perished. Those who were on the bank watched us,



grieving, calling out, remembering us [in their prayers], wishing that they could help, but they could not do: they did not even have the means to sail out to us. There were only five of us on the ship: two of the mariner’s assistants went down on a small boat with a great rope, one end of which they fastened to a rock, and the rest of us wound in the capstan. And so we pulled the ship away from the rock, fastened it on a new, great, thick rope, and with God’s help escaped that danger. Several days after that, the Lord God prepared and gave to me and to a second companion of my travels a good man, the son of a magistrate, one of the foremost judges of the island. This man lent us two horses and took us with him to the Assembly which was to be held in the presence of a hejtman sent from the King of Denmark, and he behaved and comported himself most welcomingly and kindly towards us for all the time that we were with him. Our fare on that journey, until we reached the Assembly, was for the most part as follows: dry stockfish, unsalted and uncooked, with fresh butter aged for 24 years. If ever we received a little piece of boiled meat, that too was cooked without salt; and we were obliged to eat everything without bread. Our drink was water or whey, but the water was always more appetizing than the whey. The road on which we travelled was most uncomfortable, for we travelled over horrible rocky and burnt hills, from which even some kind of steam rose at times, until our hair stood on end in horror, and, what’s more, over horrible branded and burnt-out places, and over great, almost unbelievable marshes, of which a note is made further in this tractate. When we then reached their Assembly, we saw a reasonably large number of the inhabitants of the island gathered together. Certain of them, seeing us, were amazed, others stared open-mouthed in astonishment, but many behaved and comported themselves kindly towards us, bidding us welcome and treating us with respect. But even then, Satan could not sleep. He set against us one of the high court judges who went to the hejtman and tittle-tattled to him something about us, trying to convince him to summon us to him and carefully examine us, and perhaps even punish or imprison us, for he kept repeating to the hejtman that we were some kind of spies. But the Lord God, who knew better than we did with what intentions we had travelled there, did not permit the hejtman to become angry with us in any way, or wish to harm us, but instead led him to do good to us. For when, once, we were walking past his tent, he, standing in front of the tent, called out to us. We went towards him, and he came towards us, and welcomed us with respect, asking what nation we belonged do and what had caused us to travel there. Whereupon

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we gave him a fitting answer, showed him the testimony we had received from famous and wise men, and he was satisfied with us. He further asked us how our fare had been. We answered that we had eaten such fare as is usual for the inhabitants of that island, to which he was astonished that we could bear and endure such food, and ordered forthwith that his cook, who had travelled with him, should prepare and give us a good breakfast. After speaking to us for a little longer, he ordered his servant to take us into his tent and have breakfast served to us. Which they did at once, and gave us plentiful food and drink. It is almost impossible to recount how fine and tasty that food and drink were to us, after the dry stockfish, whey and water. The hejtman himself came to join us, while we were still eating, and urged us to eat, and, most importantly of all, gave us the right, for as long as he and we remained in that place, always to come to him to eat. When the judge, who had previously incited the hejtman against us, heard of this kindness and charity towards us, he was angry that everything had gone against, rather than according to, his will. In this, too, God’s protection was with us. At the Assembly we met with one bishop of the island. When we had announced ourselves to him, and explained who we were and where we were from, he kindly welcomed us, invited us to his table and, when the Assembly finished, took us with him to Skálholt, where he had his residence. We stayed with him for four days (counting in accordance with the local tradition there) and four nights, and were abundantly provided for. Whatever came with his home was offered to us; we had nicely boiled and roasted meat, and fish, particularly nice and fine salmon. The only thing that was bad, however, was that everything they gave to us was boiled or roasted without salt. They did, however, always put salt on the table, so that we were able, if we so wished, to salt our own food. They had no need of salt, for they are used to eat everything without salt. Among other food, they gave us beef which had been boiled off a year before and hung from the roof to be used according to need. It resembled smoked meat, but there was no taste to it at all. Such bread as was there was scanty, but there was always something. We had two good beers: from Hamburg and from Lübeck. Then, when the fifth day came, and we were setting out from his place, he showed us yet more abundant kindness, in the following way: he had a good breakfast prepared for us, and breakfasted with us, together with his wife, his children and other friends who were visiting him at the time, and in our honour had wine poured into one vessel, and the best beer he had



poured into another, into another mead, into another distilled spirit, and into another milk; then they poured everything into one big can and mixed it, and drank our toast. But when they saw and noticed that the drink was not pleasant to our taste, they drank it themselves, but gave us only wine and beer, separately, and we were very glad to stop at that. He also gave us, for our journey, twenty ells of watman, which is the name they give to the cloth they make; also two pairs of spoons, a pair made of sheep horns and a pair fashioned from whales’ teeth; and while he did so, he apologized, asking us not to hold it against him that he gave us no money, because he had none, while we were not anxious for it anyway, for we were bound to show him some kind of gratitude for his charity. In addition, he lent us horses; he commended us to the hejtman and interceded for us in writing, asking him to take us with him. When he dismissed us, he sent a guide with us, and also provided us with food for our journey. On that journey, as on the first one, we were obliged to travel over mountains, rocks and marshes, and great waters, often with great danger, before we reached the seashore where the royal court is built. The hejtman was still there, and when we reached the place, we were kindly and affectionately received by him again. So much for our sojourn on the island. Now something will be noted about our return from it. The hejtman, to whom the bishop had commended us, would gladly have taken us back with him, but because there was no place left for us on his ship, he sent us with his envoy to a small ship, and ordered a place for us from the merchant who had hired the ship. He even paid for us (as we were only to learn later on), and because we did not know about this, we ourselves also paid for our board and porterage. We stayed with that merchant for another three days in Iceland; then on the fourth day we boarded the ship and set out to sea from the shore. In the beginning, we enjoyed a relatively favourable wind; later we had hardly any. Then, when we were already sailing between Scotland and the Shetland Islands, a great storm broke out and became stronger and stronger for three days and three nights. That storm was far greater than the first one which we had had while we were travelling to Iceland; indeed it could be said that the first one was not a third as strong (even though it too was a great storm) as the second. During the first one we were always able at least to tack a little, back and forward, and make some headway, but this time we could go nowhere at all. The sailors were obliged to lower all the sails and let the wind drive the ship back where it was blowing. It was not even possible to go out onto the

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top of the ship, if you did not wish to be washed away and soaked by the waves. The waves beat so strongly against the ship that they rose and broke over the ship; and anyone they caught on deck struggled to avoid the soaking, and was forced to hold on tightly so that the waves did not smash him from the ship and into the sea. What fear there was on board as the ship creaked under the beating of the waves from all sides, is best known to those who have experienced it! What fear there was, when once in the night the ship began to break up and water slowly poured into the ship, it is almost impossible to relate. How welcome it was to us, when in the second night a wave burst in through a tightly blocked window fastened tight with iron nails above our heads in the chamber in which we were resting, and poured onto us through the whole of the window, so that we could do nothing but stare: that, too, remains strong in the memory. How comfortable and unfettered one felt when, during one’s rest (and even during one’s wakefulness), one’s head and one’s body were thrown backwards and forwards, and not a moment of rest could be had, any sensible person can easily judge. Thanks to the Lord God, however, we were permitted to experience all this without damage to our health. He permitted danger, but he did not abandon us, did not allow us to perish, heard our prayer, plucked us from the danger, and then happily led us, in about a week, to shore, to the famous and noble city named Hamburg on the river Elbe, which lies twelve miles from the sea. To that Lord most powerful, and in all his works (which can be seen particularly at sea) most marvelous, be glory for ever! Amen. And so much about our travel to Iceland, our stay there, and our return with God’s help.

Short Description of the Island of Iceland and Some Peculiar Things Which Can Be Seen There. And First about the Name of That Island, Why It Is Called and Named Iceland This island takes its name, in fact, from the German language, and from the word ‘Eiss’, that is, from ice, which is there in great abundance as a result of the tremendously great cold which exercises its force there not only in the season when it does so in our land; even in those times when it departs from our land, it remains there, and they [the Icelanders] are never truly spared it, because the island lies towards the cold of the pole. The



ice is not only as a result of the cruel icy cold there, but also arrives from elsewhere, particularly from Greenland, from which strong winds drive in a mass of ice, with horrible roaring and thunder, and along with the ice other things arrive too, such as great timbers with their roots, which are blown down in the strong winds on the high mountains in Greenland and in Norway, and during times of strong southerlies and downpours, the water carries them and bears them to the sea, and in times of great tempest they reach as far as Iceland. White bears sometimes also arrive with the ice; they have gone out hunting in Greenland, and have set out far over the sea, and when the ice leaves the bank, they travel with the ice (unable to get back), and sometimes reach as far as Iceland alive, where they are either killed by people or die on their own. This island is also sometimes called Schneeland, ‘vom sne’ [sic], that is, ‘from snow’, of which they have a very great amount there, so that in wintertime they cannot even leave their homes, and even in summer an abundance of it can be seen, particularly on the mountains and hills, for it never completely disappears from them, so that even in the middle of the summer some of it still remains. Thus in the summer of 1613 we saw that, on the feast of Saint John, when the weather is at its hottest in our land, it snowed so heavily there that in an hour or two a good half cubit had fallen. […]

About the Fish and Sea Monsters Around Iceland Even more than in other places in the Arctic Sea [lit. Midnight Sea] many large wild fish can be seen around Iceland, and it is beyond doubt that this is for the following reason: very many normal fish stay in those places, and so the large ones also come and the fish find sustenance one from another—particularly the large ones from the small. Most particularly, there are often whales to be seen there, because there are so many of them, very large and tremendously horrible: with their loud noise and thunder they travel through the ocean, most often travelling two by two, or sometimes three together. Often they come right up to ships and swim alongside them, and sticking their backs and half of their eyes out of the water, they stare hard at the ship and at people. They do not cause damage to ship, as long as they are given no cause to do so; it would be most ill if they were irritated or driven to anger. Therefore at those times, it is necessary to avoid any shouting, let alone shooting, and to please them with nice and cajoling words.

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Indeed, whales are horrible to look at, not only because of their size, but also because of their blackness, for only their eyes gleam and are like fire. When they travel through the sea, they push a large amount of water before them, and wherever they appear that water rises and surges upwards, appearing above the water through their nostrils (which are like some kind of large and very wide chimney). They blow out high into the air the water which is trapped in them, and as it is blown out, the water is so broken up that it appears like mist and it the wind takes it and carries it into the air. Their exhalation is so thunderous, that it can be heard from two miles away, and seen, too. […] And so I have mentioned those things which can be seen in Iceland. Many things have been omitted, and those for good reasons. First and foremost, it was not possible to see everything perfectly in the short time, and, if something were to be written incompletely, or even wrongly, I prefer to leave it out. If anyone wishes to know and see more, he can go there himself. Then for the further reason that, if everything were to be written down which was told [to us] by the inhabitants of the island, some people might be found who would not wish to accept this as true; for many people are inclined to measure or judge other lands and countries according to their own land, in which they were born, thinking that every place operates in the same way; and when they hear something strange, they habitually reject it. But every sensible and judicious person, and particularly a person to whom it is given to see other countries and lands, such a person is more willing to accept as truth those strange wondrous things which are told about other lands. And thus it certainly pleased the Lord God that there be strange wondrous differences between different countries and lands, so that it can be said that there is not a single country which is identical in every respect to another; for every single one has something specific to itself. For this allows us to regard the following: just as the ways of the world upon which the Lord God has placed us are wondrous, all the more wondrous is he who governs all the world in his wisdom, and the world testifies to the power of his reign. To whom, for the most wondrous of his works, be praise and glory for ever! Amen. Ascension Day] 16 May 1613   Helgapeld] Helgafell, near to the Nesvogar Gulf   handsel] to inaugurate by means of a ceremony; to break in (Cz. hanslovat)   hejtman] military commander, governor (Cz.) < Hauptmann (Ger.)    Skálholt] One of the two Episcopal sees in Iceland in the medieval and early modern period, a religious, political and cultural centre. The Czech visitors in 1613, however, were clearly far more



interested in the beef and beer   butter aged for 24 years] an Icelandic speciality   watman] a coarse woollen fabric < va mál (Icel.) Daniel Strejc Vetter, Islandia, aneb krátké vypsání ostrova Islandu, v němž věci divné a zvláštní, v krajinách těchto našich nevídané, očitě spatřeny a některé od obyvatelův ostrovu tohoto hodnověmých slyšány i pravdivě poznamenány (2nd ed., Prague, 1673), trans. and introduced by David Chirico. On Vetter, see D. Chirico, ‘The Travel Narrative as a (Literary) Genre’, in Under Eastern Eyes: A Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing, ed. W. Bracewell & A. Drace-Francis (Budapest, 2008).


Escape from the Infidels Osman-Aga of Temesvar, 1724 Osman-aga, born to a family of South Slav origin in Temesvar (presentday Timişoara in Romania), was taken captive by Habsburg troops at the age of eighteen in 1688, in the warfare that followed the second Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683. The lively account of his twelve years of captivity, being passed from one master to another, is unusual for giving the Muslim perspective on this experience, and makes a contrast to better known narratives by returned Christian captives. Osman divides his frontier world into the land of Islam and the territories of the infidels, but he consistently evaluates the people he meets according to their actions, rather than their religion.

[Although Osman collected and paid the ransom placed on him after his capture, his owner refused to release him, and Osman was forced to follow the Habsburg troops into Croatia, in spite of falling gravely ill, being left for dead, and attempting to escape. Here he has been left in a Croatian village to mind his master’s horses.] [In that village] I  tended the horses and, my work done, I  talked with the household and the neighbours, and made acquaintances among them. Up till then no Turk nor Muslim had ever passed through their village, so both the men and the women wanted to talk with me. They even took me to various celebrations and feasts, and there gave me food and drink. Every day a different household would bring me food. Someone whose turn it was would come to me and ask what I would

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like. I would answer ‘Just as long as it isn’t pork or a dish prepared with lard—I eat anything else’. Thus, day after day, they brought food and an oka of wine to me. I enjoyed myself for fifteen or twenty days in that village, all the more when the Croatian girls in the flower of their youth, holding me by the hand, one on the right and the other on the left, led me to their maidenly rooms. There they were very gracious towards me. We would chatter away in solitude for an hour or two, and they would constantly beg me to sing them Turkish and Bosnian songs. At that time I was very inexperienced, as I was only eighteen years old. I was not handsome, but not ugly either, for all men are comely while they are young. At that age it is a real skill to restrain oneself and hold back when opportunity offers itself. However, thanks to the mercy and clemency of the all-powerful and sublime Allah, I was shy and retiring, and so I passed over a thousand such opportunities. But later the voice of passion would rise within me and cry: ‘There, once again you had the chance! You know that these young girls are more than ready and willing; and what would happen to you if you took a chance with one of them? You are a guest here for five or ten days and afterwards— what does it matter to you?’ When these regrets overwhelmed me, I would try to think more lucidly about my position, and then reason would prevail. ‘You are nothing but a poor captive here’, I  would think. ‘If you did something so wicked and it came to light, and if their customs and laws had to be followed, who knows what would happen then? For a few moments of pleasure you would fall into terrible misfortune. And still worse if you started a child with the girl—it scarce bears thinking about!’ [After being rescued from this master and handed on to a new owner, Osman spent some time in Styria but, although his mistress was kind and friendly, he pleaded to be sent to Vienna, where he came into the service of Count Christoph Tiedmayer von Schallenberg.] When I came to the residence of my new master, the bailiff who had brought me led me straight to his presence. For a time he gazed at me inquisitively, and then sent me off to the lackeys’ room. The bailiff was sent off with a tip. A little later, to my great astonishment, my new master’s wardrobe keeper came in and brought me from his stores a hajduk uniform of scarlet cloth and ordered me to put it on. I took off my old dress and donned this livery. Besides me in the household there was a young Serb by origin from the Temesvar district. He had been taken captive at the battle of Bel-



grade by Leopold or Ehrenreich von Schallenberg, my master’s brother, and presented to him. He wore the same hajduk costume as I did, so that we made a perfectly matched pair. When our master had to go out in his coach to the king’s court or elsewhere, we two went on foot on either side of his vehicle as an escort. So the days passed. I had the same to eat as the other lackeys. One day the master went to visit a certain Falckenhayn, who lived in a residence in the Zeughausgasse, and sent the coach and his lackeys home, ordering us to return for him with a sedan chair at nine in the evening. On our way back my colleague, who was called ‘Ratz’, said pensively, ‘My dear friend, you have chosen to come here but I fear you will regret it. Now you will see what a thing it is to carry a man like our master about Vienna in a sedan chair!’ After a little time at home, we put the straps of the chair around our necks—just as we fasten the straps of wooden clogs around our feet— and set off with the empty chair to our palace, that is, all the way from Stubentor to the Zeughausgasse. On the way the straps cut into my shoulders so that I lost all feeling, and I was consumed by extreme anxiety, worrying about what would happen when our master got in and sat down, for he was a great, fat man, weighing perhaps a hundred okas. When evening came, our master emerged, came down the stairs and sat right in the chair. The lackeys lit candles. When we lifted the master and started to leave, all my bones creaked and cracked, and we had scarcely left the gate when my feet began to stumble and weave. True, my colleague was a little stronger than I was, and so he carried the rear while I carried the front part, but even so I tripped and all but fell before we had gone fifteen paces from the gate. Seeing what was happening, our master shouted: ‘Stop, stop, stand still! Open the door for me to get out!’ He descended and scolded us up and down: ‘In the morning I’ll have you given a thousand stokes of the lash and put in irons!’ Finally he left of foot for his residence. We returned with the empty chair and left it in its place, in great distress over what awaited us in the morning. But the next day nothing happened. Allah was pleased that our master should have mercy on us. Two days later he ordered us to take the chair and bear it to the Imperial court, to his wife’s aunt Countess Breunerin. We took it there, but did not know why he had ordered us to do this. We thought that perhaps we were to take the lady somewhere. We could not believe our eyes when the lady’s housekeeper came out and gave us four gold coins as a tip and gave us greetings for

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our master from her mistress, and her thanks for the chair. The master had presented the chair to her as a gift! We each took two gold pieces and were overjoyed that we were rid of that misfortune, and we ate and drank up the money that had so unexpectedly made its way into our hands. [After a career including an apprenticeship to a master pastry-maker, and many gallant adventures in Vienna, Osman-aga is encouraged by the Peace of Karlowitz to think of returning home, and makes up his mind to flee to Ottoman Belgrade. In the guise of an officer, his wife and servants, Osman Aga and several other fugitives travel as far as Budapest, where they wait in an inn for further transport.] Two days later it was Easter, and all the Christians went to mass in their churches. As we did not go out, but stayed the whole time in the inn, our landlady asked us, ‘At such a time, when both young and old go to church to pray, you go nowhere. You seem strange Christians to me!’ ‘We are Lutherans,’ I told her. ‘We don’t go to other churches. When we are travelling, we pray by ourselves.’ But the landlady remained suspicious of us. Once or twice I visited the beautiful Buda hot springs, where I enjoyed myself greatly. After Easter the yearly fair was due to take place in Baja, and several great trading vessels from Buda were preparing to sail there. I found one of these ships, came to an agreement with the owner that we would travel with him to Baja. I gave him a deposit for the journey and had all our things loaded on board. But at the very moment of setting sail, an officer, with an interpreter and fifteen soldiers, arrived from the upper fortress, halted the ship and declared: ‘Apparently there are Muslims in disguise hiding here, fugitives from Vienna. Everyone disembark!’ [Osman and his companions are seized and taken to the fortress for questioning.] While we waited in the main guardroom, the Austrians and others gathered there gazed at us and passed wondering comments between themselves. ‘Just look, who would think that they were Muslims in disguise!’ We kept silent, never uttering a single word. […] In the meantime, the general and his officers returned from church to his residence and ordered that we be brought. When we were sent in, the general and the officers stood in the middle of the room to receive us. I stepped forward and bowed to him as etiquette demands and he said: ‘Welcome and a pleasant journey! Does your road lead you to Belgrade?’ I  relied in German, ‘No, Your Excellency! I  do not go to Belgrade, but to Baja, and thence to Varadin.’



‘Do not be offended if I ask’, he continued his questions, ‘but where you were born?’ This was a snare, but I answered, ‘I cannot hide my origin. My parents were Muslims. Lipova was my birthplace. I was taken captive there when General Caraffa took Lipova. Later I was taken to Vienna where my master converted me to Christianity and gave me my liberty. Now, since I am a free man, I intend—if you will permit me—to settle in Varadin or its surroundings where I hope to find the means to support myself.’ Then the General asked: ‘Did the master whom you served give you a document to confirm the truth of your words?’ I replied in the affirmative and pulled out the safe conduct that I had concocted. I gave it to the general who unfolded it and read it from beginning to end, nodded his head, turned to me again and said, ‘Very well! Your documents are in order, I have no objections to you. But who are these women?’ ‘This is my lawful wife’, I said. ‘And the other?’ ‘She and her husband are my servants.’ ‘Are they Christians?’ he asked. I replied affirmatively. [The General accepts their story and gives them a safe conduct to Varadin.] Meanwhile, a group of wicked renegade women and hypocritical Armenians and Greeks—those who had reported us to the general— had arrived in the upper fort and gathered before the door to see in what manner the general would have us executed. But when I emerged from the general’s residence with my entourage, as a respected personage, girded with a sword and with a cane in my hand and turned with a measured tread in front of the main guardhouse and towards the Serbian settlement, these hypocrites goggled at me open-mouthed and very nearly dropped dead with envy and anger. ‘Did you ever see the like!’ said one to another. ‘That rascal has deceived a man as clever as General Pfeffershoven! God alone knows what sort of lies he used to save himself!’ [After a number of close escapes, Osman succeeded in escaping back across the Danube to Belgrade. On his arrival he composed the following letter to General von Nehem, the Habsburg commander of Petrovaradin, complaining of his treatment, given that this was peacetime.] ‘Your Excellency, respected and highly esteemed General! Dear friend! As Your Excellency already knows, all the wretched captives of this world think day and night of nothing but how to flee, contriving a thousand tricks and ruses only that they might reach their homes and meet once more with their families and neighbours.

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I too fell into captivity many years ago, but I was not able to redeem myself even once I had paid the money for my ransom down to the last penny. For twelve years I bore much suffering, against all justice! But this time I contrived a ruse—insofar as I was able—and journeyed from Vienna all the way to Varadin. There I suffered great difficulties from Your Excellency, but as soon as chance offered itself, I  fled with my comrades and finally set foot on Muslim territory. When we arrived in Banovci, on such-and-such a day, eight hajduks named this-and-such from the Varadin encampment surprised us, plundered us and carried off the money and valuables detailed in the appended list. In addition, without the knowledge of either the General or the Pasha, in this time of peace, they sought that we pay them three hundred and ninety kuruş in the space of ten days, and they mistreated us, against the treaty of friendship and against the law. In addition, a corporal by the name of Sava, who is still now to be found in the Varadin encampment, offered to guide me to Belgrade and in such a way defrauded me of much money, though he then betrayed me against his given word. My highly esteemed and much respected friend, I hope that you will not hold against me the ruses I contrived in time of war, and that you will forgive me, will catch and imprison those petty Serb thieves who acted so cruelly towards us, and will take all our belongings from them and restore them to us. In connection with this, the glorious vezir and regent of the Sultan in Belgrade, His Excellency Ali-Pasha, has also sent Your Excellency a letter. I trust that when you have taken cognizance of all this, you will act in accordance with the requirements of friendship.’ Auditorleutenant] regimental auditor   Ivanić] frontier fortress in Croatia   oka] measure of weight; one oka equals 1.283 kg   Bosnian songs] Osman-aga appears to have spoken Turkish, Serbian, Hungarian and Romanian; he later learnt German in captivity   Christoph von Schallenberg] imperial courtier and secretary of the Hofkriegsrat   hajduk] irregular soldier in Habsburg service; lackeys wore a uniform modelled on theirs   battle of Belgrade] in 1688   ‘Ratz’] ‘Serb’ < Rác (Hung.)    Varadin] Petrovaradin   General Pfeffershoven] commander of Buda in 1699   kuruş] silver coin, piastre < Grosch (Germ.) Der Gefangene der Giauren, trans. by Richard Kreutel & Otto Spies (Vienna, 1962); Prisonnier des Infidèles, trans. by Frédéric Hitzel (Arles, 1998); Autobiografija OsmanAge Temišvarskog, trans. by Ekrem Čaušević (Zagreb, 2004), English trans. Wendy Bracewell. Osman-aga’s tale is a rare example of a Muslim captivity narrative, describing involuntary travel in Christian lands. There are many more such accounts by captured Christians from the frontier lands of eastern Europe, including that by Barto-



lomæus Georgevits, already cited, and the narrative of a young Bohemian nobleman taken captive in 1599, published in English as The Adventures of baron Wenceslas Wratislaw of Mitrowitz, trans. A.H. Wratislaw (London, 1862).


A Defence of Pilgrimage Vasyl’ Hryhorovych-Bars’kyi, 1724 The Kievan Vasyl’ Hryhorovych-Bars’kyi (1702–1747) left his home for Lviv in 1723, ostensibly seeking a cure for a leg ulcer, but in reality planning to study at the Jesuit Academy there, under the pretense of being a Catholic. There he vowed to make a pilgrimage to Bari, to visit the relics of St. Nicholas—the beginning of twenty-four years of peregrination, initially in Italy but then on to the Orthodox monasteries of Athos and the Levant. His status as a mendicant pilgrim, travelling on alms, and his Orthodox faith are the criteria by which he judges the alien world of Catholic Italy. For all Bars’kyi’s claim to travel as a true pilgrim, not for the sake of seeing worldly beauty or different lands, peoples and customs, he is very alive to secular detail in his descriptions.

[In Venice after visiting Bari, Bars’kyi plans to return home by way of Zadar, ‘not to see it (as I had already seen much that was beautiful and wonderful) but to pay my respects to the relics of the holy saint of God, Simon the Godreceiver’. His difficulty in finding someone who would take him without payment calls forth the following defence of pilgrimage.] Every hour, every day, every week I would go here and there, looking and asking everyone if they knew about a boat that had come from Zadar or was returning there; or if there was a boat from Venice to Zadar or another country via Zadar, but I found none. And even if there was someone who could take me, they demanded a payment so large that I could not have saved it during all my travels (to put it more simply, they asked for gold), but nobody wanted to take me for the sake of Christ, for many think, and even say, that pilgrims, while travelling the world and visiting foreign countries, collect a lot of alms, that is, money. But I declare on my conscience that only God knows the hardships and sufferings of the traveller—how in the summer your body is bent under the burning sun, so that your heart and head

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ache, and how you pour with sweat and your bones are so weakened that you do not want to eat, or drink, or even speak, being deadly tired. How in autumn, when you find yourself caught in the rain far from any town or village, in a field or a forest, you have to endure showers and winds, to shiver and tremble in your heart, sometimes weeping and calling on our Lord, when there isn’t a single dry thread on your chilled body, and you are frozen through and soaked to the skin. What can I say about winter, when you suffer from cold, frost, snow, when your inner and outer members are frozen, how you endure, or even how—unable to carry on—you meet an untimely death, when you are without a single warm limb, only your spirit with which to warm yourself. But do not think, oh faithful reader, that if you die a sudden death, for this or another reason, that you will be denied the Kingdom of Heaven. Every traveller, travelling as a true pilgrim and in the name of Christ, asking for alms, not with the purpose of becoming rich or seeing worldly beauty and various lands, peoples and customs, but instead travelling in fulfilment of a vow or for the desire of his own salvation, visiting the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ had His foot, or worshiping the relics of the holy saints—such a pilgrim, and all others like him, even if he does not retain his life, ought to achieve an angelic life, having frequently confessed his sins. Vasyl’ Hryhorovych-Bars’kyi, Puteshestvie k Sviatym Miestam v Evropie, Azii i Afrikie… (St. Petersburg, 1778); here from Stranstvovaniia Vasil’ia Grigorovicha-Barskago po sviatym mestam Vostoka s 1723 po 1747 g., ed. N. Barsukov (St. Petersburg, 1885– 87), trans. Vladislava Reznik. For Bars’kyi’s sojourn in Italy, see Alexander Grishin, ‘Vasyl’ Hryhorovič Bars’kyi: An Eighteenth-Century Ukrainian Pilgrim in Italy’, Harvard Ukrainian Studies 17/2 (1993): 7–26; and idem, ‘Bars’kyi and the Orthodox Community’ in Eastern Christianity (= vol. 5, The Cambridge History of Christianity), ed. M. Angold (Cambridge, 2006).


A Venetian Greek in the Ottoman Balkans Marco Antonio Cazzaiti, 1742 Marco Antonio Cazzaiti (Markos Antonios Katsaites, 1717–1787) was a nobleman from Venetian Corfu, a lawyer and geographer. In 1742 he travelled from Constantinople to Moldavia and Wallachia in the retinue


Orientations of Constantine Cantemir, son of a ruler of Wallachia, who was escorting his daughter to Iaşi. Katsaites kept a detailed diary of his travels, written in Italian. It is not clear whether he intended his diary for publication or whether the entries were meant as notes for a travelogue which he never completed. Greek in origin and consciousness, but dressed in western clothes and feeling much more at ease in Italian than in Greek, Katsaites travels through the Balkans and describes in vivid detail the conditions of travel, the places he stays in and the people he encounters. The purpose of his journey was to secure an audience with Konstantinos Mavrokordatos (1711–1769), prince of Wallachia. After a slightly embarrassing first meeting, Mavrokordatos accepted the young nobleman into his Court.

The caravan was now complete and numbering over 30 people, so we started on our route once more. After about an hour’s journey the axle of Mademoiselle’s chariot broke and we had to stop so it could be fixed. Two seimeni had been dispatched at full gallop to fetch someone with the necessary equipment. Because we were quite far from the place whence the artisans were expected, we all dismounted and, since it was getting rather late, the beisade ordered that we dine. Once the table was laid on the ground, the refreshments appeared, and he and Mademoiselle sat down and obliged me to join them. In the beginning I wanted to avoid this, saying that I was used to not dining, but he replied that during a voyage such rules do not apply, and that I should be so kind as to be his fellow diner throughout the journey. And that I should not be under the impression that I was in Italy, where there are good inns every few yards along the way, but that here we should eat for the most part out in the open and be content to partake of the modest provisions that could be carried. Moreover, that I  knew how thoroughly Beisade Mavrokordatos had recommended me, and that he would treat me as a son; and that I should not think of demurring, when circumstance, duty and necessity obliged me not to refuse him such a favour. […] With these courtesies I too sat down to dinner. He then desired that the baszoadar be part of our company throughout the journey. He too tried to avoid this, since he was not bold enough to be the tablemate of one who was by nature his Prince. However, the beisade replied that during a journey everyone was equal and that he should keep his respects and honours for Moldavia and Iaşi where all of us would find our proper character again. Therefore, the baszoadar also came and joined

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us at the table, where we all stayed until the servants returned together with the artisans, eating and drinking merrily—for the beisade enjoyed having a tipple and a good time, and for this reason he had brought with him a great supply of wine and spirits for the requirements of the journey. Various things to eat were also sent over to the Bosnians and to the other members of the company, and he even asked for dinner to be brought to my valet, and to the priest who was in my carriage, as well as to the two ladies that the baszoadar was escorting to Iaşi in the Prince’s carriage. And then, while waiting for the carriage to be fixed, we spent our time drinking coffee, smoking and having a good time telling funny stories since, as I’ve already noted, the beisade is excellent company. Around midnight we were able to set out on our route once more, so we all mounted on our horses, travelled for another hour and stopped to sleep at Metra, Μετραι, which had once been a walled city but is now open, with a diocese, two hours distance from Constantinople. […] Here we slept in a kind of caravanserai, where we were given two rooms—one for the beisade, his daughter, the slave girls and myself, the other for the baszoadar, the women he had in his care, the priest and my servant. Everyone else slept outside, under the porticoes and in other places, near the horses. Throughout the Ottoman Empire no one pays for staying the night anywhere—whether at an inn, a caravanserai, or a private house. Wayfarers are well sheltered everywhere free of charge. But one has to pay for the horses’ hay and everything one eats, but all at one’s discretion, without any fixed price and left to the generosity of the stranger; and I would say that greater civility and discretion can be found in Turkey than in any of the Christian countries, where no one thinks of anything else save of cheating and robbing poor strangers. I also note that accommodation here certainly does not have the amenities and facilities that one can find in Italy and France, since they do not give you a bed or any bedding. Each traveller has to sleep under his own bedding, which he carries with him and it is always necessary to sleep fully clothed. […] On the 21st, a Wednesday, we woke up early in the morning and took our coffee with a small piece of dry bread and a glass of spirits and then mounted our horses. We went through a forest and after about four hours we arrived at Forty Churches, Σαράυτα Εκκλησίες, a big town or village, where we stayed for lunch. In the afternoon, we saw everywhere many mounted battalions of janissaries, boustanzi, zogadari and others,



who were escorting the pasha of Khotyn on his way back from his own territory to Constantinople. After a two-hour journey, we met the pasha himself, who was travelling inside a carriage constructed in the Turkish manner, with a kind of sofa inside it, so they could be lying down. His carriage was preceded and surrounded by people with drums, tambourines, pipes and other Turkish-style instruments that one could hear from very far away. There were more than three hundred people marching ahead of him, some on horseback, others on foot, carrying various flying banners and the staff with three tails, which is his own personal emblem as a three-horsetail pasha. A further twelve carriages and carts, many zogadari and other people on horseback followed behind. As we drew near, we all lined up and greeted him solemnly, though we remained on horseback. He greeted us politely from the small door of his carriage and when he saw me dressed Frankish-style, he asked to find who I was. When the baszoadar answered that I was a Venetian travelling to Iaşi on my way to Poland, he turned to me in order to greet me; whereupon we all set out on our respective routes. He gave me the impression of a man advanced in years, with a grey beard and a genial countenance, and all the carriages that followed him were closed all round, because the women travelling inside were part of his harem. We went to sleep at Eraclir, having spent eight hours on the road. […] [In Iaşi.] On the 8th, a Friday, I woke up at an appropriate time, dressed myself in French style and mounted on my horse. (Here in Moldavia, as in Wallachia, all the boyars and noblemen go about either in carriages or on horseback and are followed by a great retinue of slaves, guardsmen, zogadari and other attendants, according to the Turkish custom, showing in this way their greater opulence; and all the civilians also go everywhere on horseback, no matter how short the distance they have to travel.) So, followed by my servant, who was dressed in livery, and by the two guardsmen in my retinue, I went to the great Postelnik, that is, the great Chamberlain, Mr Carazzico. This office is held in great esteem in these parts; the Chamberlain always stays close to the Prince, who never goes out of his Chambers without being preceded by the great Postelnik holding a silver staff. […] I was taken to the antechamber and the Audience Chamber, where I found his Highness [Konstantinos Mavrokordatos] on the sofa. At the end of this sofa, almost directly across from the door, there is a platform of crimson velvet raised three steps from the floor. Around the room there were

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various benches covered with pillows of green cloth, where many of the highest ministers were sitting. I  bowed thrice deeply to his Highness and presented him with the letters from his beisade brother and from his two capichiaja; he read them, and then I started to deliver a speech, in Italian, informing him orally of the circumstances that led me to come to his Court and ask for his protection. But a couple of sentences into it he interrupted me, asking me why, since I was Greek, I was not using my native tongue. I sincerely admit that I was startled by his request; because I did not want to compromise myself in front of his Highness and so many ministers—most of them from Constantinople and therefore speaking Greek purely and correctly—and to be obliged, as I said, to speak our language in a corrupt and barbaric manner, the way they speak it in my homeland. So I replied that I went to Italian schools and from my childhood onwards I  was friendly with aristocratic Venetian officials and other Italians, who are plentiful in my homeland, where the Venetian fleet is stationed; and that I had travelled widely in Italy; and that for all these reasons my own native tongue seems to me strange and almost foreign and I  cannot use it other than with difficulty and corrupted. The Prince replied, though, that however I spoke it, I should always honour my language, so I changed my speech to Greek, finished as best as I could and the Prince interrupted me another couple of times telling me that I spoke extremely well. He then asked me a few questions and I replied briefly, because I did not want the whole Court to be privy to my sentiments; then he called the caramassi and ordered him to set a place for me in the Court dinner. […] A long table, a foot higher than the sofa, was prepared; this allows people to sit down comfortably. Many ministers arrived for dinner, half of which was served Turkish-style and half Frankish-style. The caramassi placed me in the middle of the table and treated me with all possible honorary distinctions. Plenty of provisions arrived, beautifully prepared, and we drank wine—but, on the whole, the wines had absinthe in them, so they tasted disgusting to a palate like ours. seimeni] mercenary guards < seğmen (Turk.)   beisade] son of a bey or governor, here Constantin Cantemir, son of a former Prince of Moldavia < beyzade (Turk.)    Mademoiselle] Constantin’s daughter Tarsia   Beisade Mavrocordato] Ioannes (Iancul) Mavrokordatos, brother and successor of Konstantinos, whom Katsaites had met in Constantinople   zogadari] bodyguard < çuhadar (Turk.)   baszoadar] chief bodyguard < baş çuhadar (Turk.)    Metra] town in eastern Thrace, now Çatalca, Turkey    Σαράυτα Εκκλησίες] town in eastern Thrace, now Kırklareli,



Turkey    boustanzi] palace guards < bostanci (Turk.)    Eraclir] town in eastern Thrace, now Marmara Ereğli, Turkey   Frankish] Western    caravanserai] inn   Mr Carazzico] Konstantinos Karatzas (1700-1771)    capichiaja] the prince’s agents at the Porte < kapikâhaya (Turk.)    camarassi] treasurer < cămăraş (Rom.)    my homeland] Corfu    absinthe] wormwood; not Greek resinated wine From Markos Antonios Katsaites, Viaggio da Costantinopoli a Iassi capitale della Moldavia ne 1742; translated into Greek in Taxidi ste Moldovlachia to etos 1742, ed. and trans. Philippou K. Phalbou (Athens, 1979). Translated, introduced and glossed by Maria Kostaridou and Alex Drace-Francis.


Sinful Sufferings Parteniĭ Pavlovich, 1749 Parteniĭ Pavlovich, born around 1700 in Bulgarian Silistria and ultimately a senior member of the Orthodox hierarchy in the Metropolitanate of Sremski Karlovci, described his travels in several texts, including one account of the Patriarch’s flight from Peć in 1737 in advance of returning Ottoman troops, written on the blank endpapers of a printed book that he had carried away. This excerpt from a longer autobiographical work recounts his peregrinations on the model of the Orthodox hagiography, detailing his sufferings for the sake of the true faith but also indicating his respect for holy relics, miracles and learning, whether Orthodox or Latin.

June 21 1749 [Describes being seized in Mehadia on his way to Bucharest, returned to Vienna and kept for sixteen months in prison, then freed.] Thus I suffered because of the malediction or suspicion of Prince Cantacuzene. And ever since they dragged us about like that, in a manner more Tartar than human, my head has echoed continually, and has sometimes caused me pain. But, praise be to God, the same had already happened to me not once but several times in the course of my wanderings. […] I travelled through Banat, Srem, Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia and Italy in peace under the protection of Our Lord and the Mother of God, but not without suffering and fear. In the afore-mentioned Croatia, near

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to the monastery of Lepavina, I received several blows with a club on my shoulders. In Italian Naples I endured blows and expulsion from the Latin church, having told the priest: non e vero pastore il Pontefice, ma e falso, perche e fato la schisma in chesa de Jesu Christu. And in Rome and Venice and Florence and Bari I would have suffered the same if I had not left hurriedly. […] I toured Albania, Valona, Durazzo or Drač, Moskopolis, Velegrad, where there are the relics of St. Nikodim the newly-martyred (tortured fifty years previously by the Hagarenes), Elbasan (where near the monastery the relics of St. John Vladimir the emperor are buried), and Skadar or Skender-grad, when for two months and a half I was imprisoned and bound in iron fetters. Afterwards by the prayers of St Dimitri the holy martyr, miracle-worker of Salonica, who sent heavy rains upon them, and by the intercession of the Orthodox living there, I was freed for thirty pieces of silver. And then having gathered fifteen silver pieces in the coastal cities of Ulcinj, Antivari, Kotor, Kastel Novi from the blessed Christians and the Romans there, I sent to the city of Skadar (where I had suffered arrest) for ransom. And the fifteen [remaining] pieces of silver the Christians there paid and settled for me. And not being able to endure the injuries sustained through travel and the wounds on my feet, I  was forced to remain in the coastal town called Risan. And there I assembled a school of thirty pupils. A summer later, the late bishop Stephan removed me to Savina to the St. Uspenski monastery and tonsured me as a monk and made me a deacon. And so I continued, being taught by Stefan the archhierarch and Leontije the archimandrite, of blessed memory, after which I  travelled through Bosnia, Mostar and Sarajevo […]. From there I went to Novi Pazar to the late Mojsej of Peć, where we developed the daring intention of going from Dalmatia to Moscow to the late Tsar Peter, the All-Russian Emperor and Orthodox Monarch. But the Hagarenes heard of this and wished to kill us, so that we were forced to put off our journey. And I went from Novi Pazar to Belgrade and resided there a time. The deceased Mojsej, Archbishop and Metropolitian, took me to him and I travelled to Austrian Vienna with him. […] I set off with [Archbishop Vikentije Jovanović], not directly to Austrian Vienna, but through Bohemian Prague to Karlsbad or Teplice Karolove, and spent three months there. The water there comes from the ground boiling hot, so that visitors there drink it like coffee, and



this water heals men miraculously. On the first day one drinks five little cups, on the second day ten, on the third fifteen, on the fourth twenty and so on, and both the sick and the well drink for several days. Various nations gather there for this medicinal water. The Viennese doctors had advised the late Metropolitan Vikentije to go there for the cure because of his illness. It is called Teplice Karolove [Charles’ Hot Springs] because the waters were discovered in the reign of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. A hound and a roe deer stumbled across the spring, and were found dead and drowned. When the Emperor’s legs were cured of the wounds he had received from battle and from the French, the place was settled by imperial command. A beautiful city has been built and many excellent craftsmen are to be found there. No one is allowed to bear arms there, except when setting out on a journey. There are mineral springs there as well; the place is mountainous and lovely, near to Saxony. If the late Archbishop Vikentije had not forbidden me to go, I had intended to visit the Saxon Academy and school. As I returned through the capital of Vienna, I delivered a little sermon in Latin on peace, love and the seven ecumenical councils in the cathedral of the Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Stephan. As a consequence they wanted to shut me up as insane. And that speech was held on the day of ‘all saints’ in the Roman calendar. I wanted to stay longer there, but as I saw that they would hinder me and sought to seize me, I fell silent. I travelled for a few days to Poszony, city of the Magyars, and in the church there kissed the relics of St John the Merciful of Alexandria, given by the Sultan to the King of Hungary. I went as far as Trnava and the Latin Academy. Then I went to Croatia, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Peć, across the mountains to Kuči where a dog bit me on the leg, and I said, truly are you called kuči [i.e. curs], whose dogs are so wicked. ‘non e vero pastore il Pontefice...’(sic)] ‘The Pope is not a true pastor, but a false one, for he caused the schism in the church of Jesus Christ’   Velegrad] Berat in Albania   Hagarenes] descendants of Hagar, i.e. Turks    Romans] Catholics   Karlsbad] Karlovy Vary   Charles V] in fact Charles IV    Poszony] Bratislava Parteniǐ Pavlovich, Avtobiografija, first published in Srpski Sion (Novi Sad), 1905, trans. Wendy Bracewell; modern Bulgarian translation in Pirin Boiadzhiev, Parteniǐ Pavlovich (Sofia, 1988).

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Faking Exile on a Greek Island Constantin Hurmuzaki, 1764 A fragment from an incomplete manuscript account of a journey to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem written by a Moldavian boyar, Constantin Hurmuzaki. He had set out from Constantinople, where he had family connections; as his text shows, he had acquaintances in the Greek islands as well. Joking apart, such a journey was not without its dangers, as Hurmuzachi found out when his departure from the island was threatened by a conflict between Barbary corsairs and Ragusans.

The wind dropped a little and as the captain did not want to enter Chios by night, on account of the dangers, he put up only one sail, so as to enter Chios by day. And so, with God’s help, on Monday morning, September 27th, at the second hour of the day, we arrived in Chios, lowering our cannon and weapons, and passing over straight away to the other side, we entered into the town. And as I didn’t know anybody else, I sought out his holiness Chesarie Daponde, whose konak I found with great difficulty, and his holiness was out in the villages, attending to the consecration of the holy water, and I only found a deacon of his from whom I was able to establish where his holiness had gone. And as the village to which he had gone was nearby, I sent a man with a letter inviting him, if circumstances permitted and he so wished, to come that we might meet. But I also knew a certain Mise Nikouli Siduropol, from Wallachia, whom I had known in Constantinople, and finding out that he was here, I asked after him. And plenty of people knew him well, but those I asked did not understand whom I was referring to, for he no longer called himself Siduropol but Vudoghianu. And it was therefore with great difficulty and more particularly on account of his blood relationship with Mise Dimitrie Skanavi, that I found him, and without much further ado I went into his house and as soon as he saw us, he appeared most surprised, as if in a dream, saying to us, “Am I to believe that you have come, or not?” and he asked what desert we had emerged from, and where we were going, and what we were doing in Chios. In order to tease him, we replied, Glory be to God the merciful, that this was on account of our misdeeds, and long live any friend who might console us; and we bemoaned our fate in many other ways, as the Imperial çavuş



was taking us into exile with a ferman, to the Sorcerers’ fortress, and only under great pressure and against his will (and against a guarantee) had he let us leave the boat, after great pleading on our part, that our Christian brothers might take pity on us. And we told him a lot of other things, which are difficult for me to relate. And so the man became sorrowful and began to cry tears of grief and to comfort us, saying that the Lord is good and merciful, and that Mise Dimitri Skanavi had come here too (who really had been exiled, as everybody knew), and that he would talk with him so that we might benefit from his advice and not become vexed having got into the state we were in, and that he would even get the Muselim of Chios to talk to the çavuş and tell him not to cause us undue grief. And then he began to ask us how this had befallen us. And we gave a fitting response, which I omit, not wishing to appear verbose. And the man was saddened to the depths of his soul, as he was a good friend of ours. And after more than an hour had passed, we told him the truth, and once he found out about our travels, he was overjoyed and began to congratulate us, but on the other hand to upbraid us for telling him such horror stories, and straight away he ordered the table to be set so as to offer us hospitality, after the Chiote custom. And news came that father Chesarie had arrived at his home, and taking our leave of Mise Nikuli, we went straight away to his house, and spoke a great deal with him on meeting. Chesarie Daponde] Kaisarios (Konstantinos) Dapontes (1712–1784), who had served in the retinue of Prince Konstantinos Mavrokordatos before taking monastic vows    konak] (Turk.) residence    Mise] (probably